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" We find but few historians of all ages who have been diligent enough in their 
search for truth. It is their common method to take on trust what they dis- 
tribute to the Public, by which means a falsehood once received from a famed 
writer becomes traditional to posterity." DRYDEN, Character of Polybius. 





[Att rights reserved.] 







Raoul do Gael, Earl of Norfolk Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of 
Chester Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of Coutanoes Roger 
de Mowbray (his brother) 1 


Richard de Bienfaite Baldwin de Meules "Richard de Redvers 

Gilbert do Montfichet Roger le Bigod .... 33 


Humphrey de Bohun Henry de Ferrers Geoffrey de Mande- 

ville Hugh do Grentmesnil Richard de Courci . . 63 


William de Albini William Malet William de Vieuxpont 

Raoul Taisson William de Moulins Hugh de Gournay . 90 


William de Mohun Eudo al Chapel Eudo Dapifer Fulk 

d'Aunou Richard de Nevil . . .120 


Xeel de Saint- Sauveur William de Roumare The Chamberlain 
of Tanker ville Urso d'Abitot Walter and Ilbert de Lacy 
Robert and Ivo de Vesci Euguenulf de FAigle . .HO 

VOL. II. b 



Kobert Marmion Hugh de Beauchamp "William de Percy 

Robert Fitz Erneis "William Patry de la Lande . . .167 


"William Crispin Ayenel de Biarz Fulk d' Aulnay Bernard de 

St. Valeri Eobert d'Oiley Jean d'lvri . . . .191 


Raoul de Fougeres Errand de Harcourt William Pale el 
Walter d'Aincourt Samson d'Ansneville Hamo de Creve- 
coeur Picot de Say . . . . . . . .225 


Robert Bertram Ilugli de Port William de Colombieres 

Eobert d'Estouteville William Peverel . . . .247 


Companions of the Conqueror unidentified, or of whose personal 

history nothing has hitherto been discovered . . . 276 

INDEX 303 





" Joste la Compagnie de Neel, 
Chevalcha Raoul de Gael." 

Roman de Ron, 1. 13,624. 

HERE is another mysterious companion, respecting 
whom much labour and speculation have been 
expended in vain. All our historians are agreed upon 
the fact that the Consulate of the East Angles, com- 
prising the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and part 
of Cambridge, was given by William the Conqueror to 
one of his followers named Raoul, or Ralph, indif- 



ferently designated Guader, Waher, Gwyder, Gael, 
Waite, Ware, and even Vacajet, so that it is almost 
difficult to believe the writers are all of them really 
speaking of the same individual. 

This Raoul, however, who was one of the principal 
leaders of the Bretons in the great expedition of 
William, and received, as we are told, in reward of his 
services the earldoms of Norfolk and Suffolk, married, 
some say with the consent, others in positive defiance 
of, his sovereign, Emma, daughter of William Fitz 
Osbern, the great Earl of Hereford, and sister of his 
son and successor, Roger de Breteuil, and on his very 
wedding-day joined with his brother-in-law and 
Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, in a plot against 
King William, which might speedily have terminated 
the reign of the Conqueror had not Waltheof, repent- 
ing almost in the same breath, denounced the con- 
spirators, first to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and then, by his advice, to the King himself, who was 
at that time in Normandy. Roger, Earl of Hereford, 
was seized and thrown into prison, out of which he 
never came alive; but Raoul, Earl of Norfolk, for- 
tunately escaped to Denmark. His wife heroically 
defended the Castle of Norwich until she could make 
honourable terms for herself and the Bretons under her 
command. Ralph, after ineffectually attempting an 


inroad with some forces hastily raised in Denmark., 
retired to Brittany, where he found refuge and protec- 
tion with Hoel V., Count of Brittany, and in 1075, 
on King William's laying siege to Dol, threw himself 
into the place with Alain Fergant, the son and suc- 
cessor of Hoel, and defended it valiantly against the 
royal forces. Eventually Raoul, with his brave and 
faithful Countess, made a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land, in which the mortal career of both is said to 
have terminated. 

These few facts, stated in as few words, are to-be 
found with little variation in all our English annalists, 
occasionally accompanied by a note or a parenthesis, 
containing an assertion or a suggestion respecting the 
parentage of this traitorous and ungrateful nobleman. 

The Saxon Chronicle, which has been followed by 
some of the early historians, says, under date 1075, 
" This year King William gave Earl Ralph the daughter 
of William Fitz Osbern to wife. The said Ralph 
was Bryttisc (British) on his mother's side, and his 
father was an Englishman named Ralph, and born in 
Norfolk. The King, therefore, gave his son the earl- 
doms of Norfolk and Suffolk, who then brought his wife 
to Norwich, but 

" There was that bride-ale 
The source of men's bale. 

B 2 


"It was Earl Roger and Earl Ralph who were 
authors of that plot, and who enticed the Britons 
(Bryttens) to them, and sent each to Denmark after a 
fleet to assist them," &c. 

In contradiction to the above statement, that the 
King gave to Earl Ralph the daughter of Fitz Osbern 
to wife, the majority of the Norman historians contend 
that the match was for unknown reasons strictly pro- 
hibited by the King ; and in as positive opposition to 
the assertion that Earl Ralph was British on his 
mother's side, William of Malmesbury, who calls him 
Ralph de Waher, says he was a Briton on his father 's 
side (" Brito ex-patre "), and of a disposition foreign to 
anything good. Matthew Paris and Matthew of West- 
minster both call him, and not his father, an English- 
man born in Norfolk, and by his mother s side of 
British parentage, " which/' .says Dugdale, " they 
understand -to be Welsh ; but others say he was of 
Brittany in France, which is the more likely in regard 
he was the owner of the Castle of Guader, in that 
province." Here we begin to approximate the truth, 
for Guillaume de Jumie'ges, in describing the issue of 
William Fitz Osbern, says that one of his daughters 
named Emma is married to Radulf de Waiet, "genere 
Britoni qui fuit comes Norwicensis ; " and Wace, in 
his chronicle, says distinctly, "Next the company of 


Neel rode Raol de Gael. He was himself a Breton 
and led Bretons. He served for the land he had, but 
he had it a short time enough, for he forfeited it as 
they say." 

In the paper I read at the Norwich Congress of the 
British Archaeological Association in 1857, I gave 
my reasons for believing Raoul dc Gael to be a son of 
Ralf, Earl of Hereford, in the reign of Edward the 
Confessor, who is, I think, unfairly accused of cowardice 
in consequence of the flight of his troops, raw levies, 
hastily raised, and compelled to fight on horseback, to 
which they were unaccustomed, against the combined 
Irish and Welsh forces under Algar, son of Leofric, 
in 1055. I have seen nothing since to induce me to 
alter my opinion. * 

This Ralph was a son of Goda, sister of Edward the 
Confessor, by her first husband, Dreux, Count of the 
Vexin, of Pontoise, Chaumont, and Amiens, and 
nephew, consequently, of the English King. Sir 
Henry Ellis, in his Introduction to Domesday, has 
shown that the wife of Ralph is named in the survey 
as Getha and Gueth, who held lands in Buckingham- 
shire ; but though identifying her as the mother of 
Harold, Lord of Sudeley, he does not allude to any 
other issue. The name of Getha is certainly not 
Norman, and we find her acknowledged son named 


Harold, tending to show that she was of Saxon origin, 
which view is supported by entries in Domesday of a 
Godwin, " uncle of Earl Ralph," and an Alsio (Alsy), 
" nephew of Earl R.," holding land in the time of 
King Edward. 

Ralph, who is called Earl of Hereford by the 
majority of the historians, is expressly described by 
the old Norman poet Gaimar as Earl of the East 
Angles. He tells us that Count Leuric (Leofric) held 
Norfolk, and that on his death Raoul (Ralph) was seised 
of his honour, but held it for a very short time, and 
was buried at Peterborough, then called Burgh, Count 
Leofric being buried at Coventry. 

In Duchesne's list of the names of Normans who 
flourished in England before the Conquest, occurs 
" Ralph, Comes Est Anglice, pater Heraldi dominus de 
Sudely," and in that of nobles living in the twentieth 
year of King William the Conqueror, " Radulfus, Comes 
Est Anglia?," is marked as " mortuus antea." 

With all due deference, therefore, I cannot accept 
Mr. Taylor's suggestion, strongly enforced though it be 
by Mr. Freeman, that Raoul de Gael was the son of 
Ralph Stalra, or the Staller, nor can I consent to hear 
him branded as " the only English traitor in that motley 
host," who canie to win back the lands " which some 
unrecorded treason had lost him." I protest against 


this groundless accusation of a loyal and gallant soldier, 
who, in 1069, had repulsed an invasion of the Danes 
at Norwich while his sovereign was amusing himself 
with chasing the deer in the Forest of Dean. What 
are the words of Wace? "He served for the land 
he had." Does this imply that he had previously 
forfeited it by treason ? I think I can prove that he 
was a man u more sinned against than sinning." 

Walter de Mantes, Ralph Earl of Hereford's eldest 
brother (according to my theory), was, together with 
his wife, Biota, basely poisoned at Falaise by William 
the Conqueror in 1065, in order to secure possession 
of the donate" of Maine, the reversion of which was, it 
is said, bequeathed to him by Biota's father after the 
decease of Hugh or Herbert, Walter claiming it in 
right of his wife, and being the popular candidate. 

This infamous act is passed over in silence by most 
of the Norman historians, but Orderic Vital, in his 
account of the fatal " bride-ale " of Ixingham, where 
the conspiracy against William was formed by Roger 
de Breteuil and Raoul de Gael, represents the latter 
as making this double murder one of the charges 
against the Norman King of England, whom he 
accuses, and with good reason, of having also caused 
the poisoning of Conan, Duke of Brittany, and of other 
foul and tyrannical actions. " He who now bears the 


title of King," the Earl is reported to have said, " is 
unworthy of it, being a bastard, and it is evident that 
it is unpleasing to God that such a monster should 
govern the kingdom. 

"He disinherited and drove out of Normandy William 
Werlenc, Count of Mortain, for a single word. Walter, 
Count of Pontoise, nephew of King Edward and Biota, 
his wife, being his guests at Falaise, were both his 
victims by poison in one and the same night. Conan 
also was taken off by poison at William's instigation 
that valiant Count whose death was mourned 
through the whole of Brittany with unutterable grief 
on account of his great virtues. These and other such 
crimes have been perpetrated by William in the case 
of his own kinsfolk and relations, arid he is ever 
ready to act the same part towards us and our 

There is tolerable evidence that all these charges 
are well founded, at any rate they are not contra- 
dicted by Orderic, who recites them, and they have 
never been disproved, and if I am correct in my 
deductions, we have here a very strong justification of 
Raoul de Gael's rebellion, which has been represented 
by the partial Norman writers and their modern 
copyists as a monstrous piece of ingratitude. 

Walter de Mantes and Biota were, according to my 


opinion, the uncle and aunt of Raoul de Gael, and to 
Conan, Duke of Brittany, the Conqueror's other victim, 
Raoul would owe fealty for his possessions, Montfort 
and Guader, in that province ; while to those in England 
he had naturally succeeded on the death of his father, 
the old Earl Ralph, and had consequently been re- 
warded by William for his assistance at the Conquest 
by confirmation only in his hereditary rights and 
dignity, "the land," in fact, "which he had/' arid 
for which he did service. 

Place this unavoidable act of justice, more than 
favour, in one scale, and the base assassination of his 
nearest relations and of his native feudal lord in the 
other, added to the imperious prohibition of his 
marriage with Emma, under perhaps the most aggra- 
vating circumstances, for no reasons w r ere ever given, 
and we are justified in believing that William, a 
notorious promise-breaker, may have acted towards the 
Earl of Norfolk, as he had previously done towards 
Earl Edwin, to whom he had first promised his 
daughter, and then broke faith with him and drove 
him into rebellion. Weigh, I repeat, these injuries 
against a questionable boon, and I think you will agree 
with me, that the obligations of the Breton noble to 
the Norman sovereign dwindle down to a burden not 
very likely to have encumbered his conscience, even if 


murder and tyranny could not legally as well as morally 
absolve him. 

Who shall say that the very object of the astute 
tyrant in forbidding the match evidently one of 
affection was not to exasperate his too powerful 
vassals and drive them into rebellion, as he had 
previously done Edwin and Morkar, so that he might 
have a legal pretence, and of which he was always so 
cunningly careful, for seizing on their large domains 
in England, of course the first thing he did do 1 

The assertion that the elder Ralph w r as an English- 
man, born in Norfolk, may not be untrue, for his 
mother, sister of Edward the Confessor, might have 
been in this country, and in that county, at the time of 
his birth ; while on the other hand, the Countess Getha, 
or Gueth, was probably in Bretagne when Raoul was 
born, from which circumstance he might take the name 
of Gael, as having first seen the light in that castle. 

Gael, spelt and pronounced Wael, on the same 
principle that Guillaume and Gulielmus became 
William and Willielmus, was anciently called Guadel, 
similarly softened into Waclel. The relics of St. 
Unwin were deposited in a monastery there. A 
further commutation of the final 1 for r, either by the 
Latin chroniclers or their careless transcribers, has 
transformed Wael into Waer, and Guadel into Guader. 


The other varieties, Gader, Guaer, Waher, Ware, and 
Waiet are evidently errors either of the scribe or the 
printer, and Gwyder is obviously a guess originating 
in the tradition of a Welsh mother, which if Gueth be 
a corruption of Gwyneth is not to be hastily discarded, 
particularly when we remember her husband was Earl 
of Hereford. Vacajet, which occurs in " Neustria 
Pia," and once in Maurice's "Histoire de Bretagne," 
may be the name of some other lordship by which 
Raoul was occasionally called, as he appears as Ralph 
de Montfort and Ralph de Dol, both castles in Brittany 
belonging to himself or his family, and in the latter of 
which he was besieged by King William after his 
escape from Norwich. That he has not been mentioned 
as the brother of Harold, Lord of Sudeley,* need 
surprise no one who has any experience of the laxity 
of the old chroniclers on such matters. In the pre- 
ceding volume many instances have been pointed out 
of their silence, either through ignorance or neglect of 
genealogical points, of equal, if not more importance. 
Few English antiquaries besides the late Mr. Stapleton 
have turned their serious attention to the investigation 
of the descents of the followers of the Conqueror, 
proud as thousands are of tracing up their pedigrees 

* Harold was a minor in 1066, in ward of the Lady (Queen) Ead- 
gyth. Eaoul, according to my view, was his elder brother and in 
possession of his patrimonial estates in Brittany. 


to tlieni and through them to Charlemagne, while 
others delight in denouncing them as Richard III., 
according to Shakespere, does the followers of another 
fortunate invader, " a scum of Bretons," and 

" overweening rags of France, 
Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit, 
For want of means, poor rats, had hanged themselves." 

A mere horde, in fact, of military adventurers attracted 
by the prospect of plunder and power. 

In the latter class we have hitherto been led to place 
Raoul de Gael, but if I have correctly affiliated him, 
the blood of Charlemagne did run in his veins, for his 
grandfather was the son of Alice, or Adele, daughter 
of Herbert, Count of Senlis, a scion of a younger 
branch of the Counts of Vermandois, and with their 
blood was mingled that of the Saxon sovereigns of 
England, for he was the great-grandson of Ethelred, 
King of England.* 

Royal lineage, however, would not advance him in 
the reader's estimation were he still stained with treason 
and branded with ingratitude. His rank would rather 
give a deeper dye to his delinquency. But in estab- 
lishing his parentage according to my theory, a clear 
light is thrown upon his conduct. A rebel he 

* Have we here by accident lighted on the unrevealed reason of the 
Conqueror's opposition to the marriage ? Utterly to root out the royal 
Saxon race was his constant anxiety, and unscrupulously did he labour 
to effect his objects. What became of the younger brother, Harold f : 


undoubtedly was ; but it was against a felon king, the 
dastardly assassin of Raoul's kinsfolk, whilst he was 
their host, 

" Who should against the murderer bar the door, 
Not bear the knife himself," 

and of a liege lord to whom the noble Breton was 
equally bound. It was against a faithless tyrant, who 
had abused the power to which he had helped to raise 
him, by flinging for some dark purpose a barrier be- 
tween him and the chosen of his heart, for that his 
union with the daughter of Fitz Osbern was one 
of mutual affection is surely proved by her gallant 
defence of Norwich Castle whilst her husband was 
seeking aid from his friends in Denmark, and the 
ultimate pilgrimage of the Earl and Countess to 
Palestine, where they found a peaceful grave together. 

By one of those remarkable circumstances which 
are popularly termed judgments, the city of Mantes 
proved fatal to the ferocious and perfidious Norman, 
and avenged the double murder of its rightful lord and 
his Countess Biota. 

Raoul de Gael had by his Countess Emma three sons : 
the eldest, William, died in 1102, Raoul, who suc- 
ceeded him, and Alain, who accompanied his father to 
Palestine and perhaps never returned. Raoul the 
second, also called De Gael, was taken into favour by 


Henry L, King of England, to whose illegitimate son 
Richard he affianced his daughter Ita or Avicia, with the 
full consent of the King, who settled on her, as a marriage 
portion, the barony of Breteuil and the lands of Lire and 
Glos, which had belonged to her grandmother's family, 
Richard was, however, drowned in the wreck of the 
White Ship, and* Avicia afterwards espoused Robert de 
Beaumont, " Le Bossu " Earl of Leicester. Is it 
likely that the granddaughter of Ralph the Staller 
would have been proposed as a wife for" the son of 
a king, even though illegitimate ? Descended as I 
consider her to be, she was a match for the King him- 
self. I will place this simple fact against a supposition 
founded on a single entry in Domesday, wherein Ralph 
the Staller is given the title of " Comes."* He was 
no doubt Comes Stabuli, and so were two other 
Stallers at the same period, Esgar and Bondy. But 
Raoul de Gael was, I contend, son of " Radulfus, 
Comes Est Angliae," and not of an officer of the 
Royal Household, who cannot for a moment be placed 
in the rank of the " Master of the Horse " of the present 

* " Benetleiam tenuit Comes Guert. T. E. E. posteam adjunxit. 
Comes Badulfus Stalra huic manerio pro berewita, T. E. Willelmi." 
A Ealf Eegis " Dapifer " and a Ealf " Minister " appear as witnesses 
to charters of the same period, but they cannot be identified with 
Ealph the Staller. A " Eadulphus Dapifer " was an under tenant in 
Northamptonshire. There are between thirty and forty Ealphs men- 
tioned in Domesday, not one third of whom could be identified. 


day, and whose title of " Comes " no more signified Earl 
than that of constable does the dignity of that great 
officer of state, " the Lord High Constable of Eng- 
land," though derived from the same root, the Count 
of the Stable. Raoul de Gael was a powerful baron 
of Brittany, lord of the Castles of Guader and Mont- 
fort and large domains, which we are distinctly in- 
formed were his patrimonial estates, and could not be 
affected' by his attainder in England, and to which his 
sons succeeded by hereditary right. Is there the 
slightest evidence that Ralph the Staller was ever Lord of 
Guader and Montfort, or of a rood of land in Brittany ? 
The confusion has been caused by Ralph the Earl and 
Ralph the Staller having each a son Ralph, but there 
is this remarkable distinction, the son of the Earl is 
invariably styled Comes, whereas the son of the 
Staller, called " Comes," is simply named Ralph. 

Ita or Avicia Countess of Leicester is incorrectly 
set down by our modern genealogists as the daughter 
and heir of Raoul Earl of Norfolk, for whom an arbi- 
trary coat of arms has been invented which is quartered 
by many of our nobility. She was, as I have shown, his 
granddaughter, and not his heir ; and neither he nor 
his son could ever have borne coat armour, which made 
its first appearance in the reign of Henry II. 

* Montfort-sur-Mer, near Eennes. 



Here is a personage who, under the more popular 
name of Hugh Lupus, is perhaps almost as well known 
as the Conqueror himself. 

Wace in his " Roman de Rou," speaks only of his 
father Richard : 

" D'Avrancin i fu Eicharz." 

But it is generally contended that Richard was not in 
the battle, and that it was Hugh, his son, who accom- 
panied William to Hastings. The authors of "Les 
Recherches sur le Domesday," to whom we are so 
deeply indebted for information on these points, hesi- 
tate to endorse the opinion of Mons. le Prevost upon 
these grounds, that Richard was living as late as 
1082, when he appears as a witness to a charter of 
Roger de Montgomeri, in favour of St. Stephen's at 
Caen, to which also his son, Earl Hugh, is a subscriber. 
Their observations only point, however, to the proba- 
bility of Richard, who in 1066 was Seigneur or Vicomte 
of Avranches, having been in the Norman army of in- 
vasion, as he survived the event some sixteen years ; 
at the same time they deny that there is any proof 
that his son Hugh was in the battle, and assert, with- 
out stating on what authority, that Hugh only joined 
the Conqueror in England after the victory at Senlac, 


when he rendered the new King most important ser- 
vices by his valour and ability in the establishment of 
William on the throne, and contributed greatly towards 
the reduction of the Welsh to obedience. That there 
is authority for their assertion appears from the cartu- 
lary of the Abbey of Whitby, quoted by Dugdalo in 
his " Monasticon," * where we read distinctly that 
Hugh Earl of Chester and William de Percy came into 
England with William the Conqueror in 10G7 : "Anno 
Domini millesimo sexagesimo septimo" and that the 
King gave Whitby to Hugo, which Hugo afterwards 
gave to William de Percy, the founder of the abbey 

We have here, therefore, a parallel case to that of 
Roger de Montgomeri,j* and must similarly treat it as 
an open question. 

The descent of Richard, surnamed Goz, Le Gotz, or 
Le Gois, from Ansfrid the Dane, the first who bore 
that surname, has been more of less correctly recorded, 
but in " Les Recherches " it will be found critically 
examined and carried up to Rongwald, or Raungwaldar, 
Earl of Msere and the Orcades in the days of Harold 
Harfager, or the Fair-haired; which said Rongwald 
was the father of Hrolf, or Rollo, the first Duke of 

* Mon. Aug. vol. i., p. 72. 
\ Vide voli., p. 181. 



Normandy. Rongwald, like the majority of his country- 
men and kinsmen, had several children by a favourite 
slave, whom he had married " more Danico" and Hrolf 
Turstain, the son of one of them, having followed his 
uncle Rollo into Normandy, managed to secure the 
hand of Gerlotte de Blois, daughter of Thibaut Count 
of Blois and Chartres, which seems to have been the 
foundation of this branch of the great Norse family in 
Normandy, and the stock from which descended the 
Lords of Briquebec, of Bec-Crispin,of Montfort-sur-Risle, 
and others who figure as companions of the Conqueror. 

The third son of Gerlotte was Ansfrid the Dane, the 
first Vicomte of the Hiemois, and father of Ansfrid the 
second, surnamed Goz, above mentioned, whose son 
Turstain (Thurstan, or Toustain) Goz was the great 
favourite of Robert Duke of Normandy, the father of 
the Conqueror, and accompanied him to the Holy 
Land, and was intrusted to bring back the relics the 
Duke had obtained from the Patriarch of Jerusalem to 
present to the Abbey of Cerisi, which he had founded. 
Revolting against the young Duke William in 1041,* 
Turstain was exiled, and his lands confiscated and given 
by the Duke to his mother, Herleve, wife of Herluin 
de Conteville. 

Richard Goz, Vicomte d'Avranches, or more pro- 

* Fufevol. i., p. 21. 


perly of the Avranchin, was one of the sons of the 
aforesaid Turstain, by his wife Judith de Mon- 
tanolier, and appears not only to have avoided 
being implicated in the rebellion of his father, 
but obtained his pardon and restoration to the 
Vicomte* of the Hiemois, to which at his death he 
succeeded, and to have strengthened his position at 
court by securing the hand of Emma de Conteville, 
one of the daughters. of Herluin and Herleve, and half- 
sister of his sovereign. By this fortunate marriage 
he naturally recovered the lands forfeited by his father 
and bestowed on his mother-in-law, and acquired also 
much property in the Avranchin, of which he obtained 
the Vicomte, in addition to that of the Hiemois. 

There was every reason, therefore, that he should 
follow his three brothers-in-law in the expedition to 
England, if not prevented by illness or imperative 
circumstances. He must have been their senior by 
some twenty years, but still scarcely past the prime 
of life, and his son Hugh a stripling under age, as 
his mother, if even older than her brothers Odo and 
Robert, could not have been born before 1030, and if 
married at sixteen, her son in 1066 would not be 
more than nineteen at the utmost. Mr. Freeman, who 
places the marriage of Herleve with Herluin after the 
death of Duke Robert in 1035, would reduce this 

c 2 


calculation by at least six years, rendering the pre- 
sence of her grandson Hugh at Senlac more than 
problematical. It is at any rate clear that he must 
have been a very young man at the time of the 

That " he came into England with William the 
Conqueror," as stated by Dugdale, does not prove 
that he was in the army at Hastings, and is recon- 
cilable with the assertion in the " Recherches," that 
he joined him after the Conquest, corroborated by the 
cartulary of Whitby, before mentioned ; very pro- 
bably coming with him in the winter of 10G7, and 
in company with Roger de Montgomeri, respecting 
whose first appearance in England the same diversity 
of opinion exists, and it might be his assistance in 
suppressing the rebellion in the West and other parts 
of the kingdom that gained him the favour of the King, 
and ultimately the Earldom of Chester, at that time 
enjoyed by Gherbod the Fleming, brother of Gundrada. 
The gift of Whitby, in Yorkshire, to Hugh, which 
he soon afterwards gave to William de Percy, would 
seem to show that he had been employed against the 
rebels beyond the Humber in 1068. 

In 1071, Gherbod Earl of Chester being summoned 
to Flanders by those to whom he had intrusted the 
management of his hereditary domains, whatever they 


\vere,obtained from King William leave to make a short 
visit to that country ; but while there his evil fortune 
led him into a snare, and falling into the hands of his 
enemies, he was thrown into a dungeon, " where he 
endured," says Orderic, " the sufferings of a long cap- 
tivity, cut off from all the blessings of life." Whether 
he ended his days in that dungeon Orderic does not tell 
us. A little more information respecting this Gherbod 
and his sister would be a great boon to us. At present, 
what we hear about them is so vague that it looks 
absolutely suspicious. 

In consequence of this " evil fortune " which befell 
Gherbod, the King, continues Orderic, gave the earl- 
dom of Chester to Hugh d'Avranches, son of Richard, 
surnamed Goz, who, in concert with Robert de Rhud- 
dlan and Robert de Malpas, and other fierce knights, 
made great slaughter amongst the Welsh. 

Hugh was in fact a Count Palatine, and had the 
county of Chester granted to him to hold as freely by 
the sword as the King held the kingdom by the 
crown. He was all but a king himself, and had a 
court, and barons, and officers, such as became a 
sovereign prince. 

We hear but little of him during the remainder of the 
reign of William the Conqueror, but in the rebellion 
against Rufus, in 1096, he stood loyally by his sove- 


reign; lie is charged, however, with having barbarously 
blinded and mutilated his brother-in-law, William 
Comte d'Eu, who had been made prisoner in that abor - 
tive uprising. In the same year he is also accused of 
committing great cruelties upon the Welsh in the Isle 
of Anglesea, which he ravaged in conjunction with 
Hugh de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, who lost 
his life at that period in resisting the landing of the- 
Norwegians under Magnus III., King of Norway. 
The Norse poet tells us the Earl of Shrewsbury was. 
so completely enveloped in armour that nothing could 
be seen of his person but one eye. " King Magnus let 
fly an arrow at him, as also did a Heligoland man 
who stood beside the King. They both shot at once. 
The one shaft struck the nose-guard of the helmet, 
and bent it on one side, the other arrow hit the Earl 
in the eye and passed through his head, and this arrow 
was found to be the King's." 

Giraldus Cambrensis gives a similar account, adding- 
some few details, such as the derisive exclamation of 
Magnus, " Leit loupe ! " " Let him leap!" as the Earl 
sprang from the saddle when struck, and fell dead into 
the sea. 

As this Earl of Shrewsbury Avas called by the 
Welsh " Goch," or " the Red/' from the colour of his 
hair, so was Hugh Earl of Chester called " Vras," or 


"the Fat." His popular name of Lupus, or ''the Wolf," 
is not to be traced to his own times, and Dugdale ob- 
serves that it was an addition in after ages for the 
sake of distinction ; about the same time, I presume, 
that the heralds invented the coat of arms for him 
"Azure, a wolf's head, erased, argent " suggested, 
probably, by the name, which, if indeed of contempo- 
rary antiquity, might have been given him for his 
gluttony, a vice to which Orderic says he was greatly 
addicted. " This Hugh," he tells us, " was not merely 
liberal, but prodigal ; not satisfied with being sur- 
rounded by his own retainers, he kept an army on 
foot. He set no bounds either to his generosity or 
his rapacity. He continually wasted even his own 
domains, and gave more encouragement to those who 
attended him in hawking and hunting than to the cul- 
tivators of the soil or the votaries of Heaven. He 
indulged in gluttony to such a degree that he could 
scarcely walk. He abandoned himself immoderately 
to carnal pleasures, and had a numerous progeny 
of illegitimate children of both sexes, but they have* 
been almost all carried off by one misfortune or 

With all this he displayed that curious veneration 
for the Church common to his age, which so ill accorded 
with the constant violation of its most divine precepts. 


He founded the Abbey of St. Sever in Normandy, and 
was a great benefactor to those of Bee and Ouche 
(St. Evroult) in that duchy, and also to the Abbey of 
Whitby in Yorkshire, and in 1092 restored the ancient 
Abbey of St. Werburgh at Chester, and endowed it 
with ample possessions, substituting Benedictine monks 
in lieu of the secular canons who had previously 
occupied it ; Richard, a monk of Bee, being brought 
over by Abbot Anselm, the Earl's confessor and 
afterwards the great Archbishop of Canterbury, to be 
the first abbot of the new community. 

Being seized with a fatal illness, this pious profligate 
assumed the monastic habit in the Abbey of St. 
Werburgh, and three days after being shorn a monk 
died therein, 6th kalends of August (July 27), 1101. 

By his Countess Ermentrude, daughter of Hugh 
Comte de Clermont, in Beauvoisis, and Margaret de 
Rouci, his wife, he had one son, Richard, seven years 
of age at the time of his father's death, who succeeded 
him in the earldom, married Matilda de Blois, daughter 
of Stephen, Count of Blois, by Adela, daughter of 
William the Conqueror, and perished with his young 
wife in the fatal wreck of the White Ship in 1119, 
leaving no issue. 



Of this unquestioned companion of the Conqueror 
we have already heard, in conjunction with his eccle- 
siastical brother-in-arms, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, by 
whose side he fought, if not at Senlac, at least on 
other occasions, and at whose trial he presided when 
that rapacious primate was impleaded by Lanfranc for 
despoiling the see of Canterbury of much of its 

Dugdale, apparently quoting Orderic Vital, says 
that Geoffrey, being of a noble Norman extraction, and 
more skilful in arms than divinity, knowing better how 
to train up soldiers than to instruct his clergy, was an 
eminent commander in that signal battle near Hastings, 
in Sussex. 

The words of Orderic are not quite so precise as 
respects the battle ; he says that the Bishop rendered 
essential service and support at it, but neither by him nor 
by any other writer is it indicated that he was intrusted 
with a command in it. Wace describes him as re- 
ceiving confessions, giving benedictions, and imposing 
penalties on the night before the battle, but not as 
taking active part in the battle itself, though, with the 
prelate's pugnacious propensities, it is almost im- 


possible to believe lie could withstand the temptation. 
" The Sire de Moubrai/' however, mentioned as a 
combatant by the Norman poet, was Roger de Moubrai, 
brother of the Bishop, and father of Robert de Mowbray, 
Earl of Northumberland. 

Montbrai (Moubrai) is a commune in the canton of 
Percy, arrondissement of St. L6. Its name was cor- 
rupted in England into Mowbray, which, after its 
assumption by the family of Albini, I need scarcely 
observe, became one of the noblest in England. 

Bishop Geoffrey appears to have preferred the 
name of St. L6 to that of Montbrai, and we find him 
therefore described as De Sancto Laudo and St. 

The first time we hear of him after the battle is at 
the coronation of William in Westminster Abbey, 
when, " at the instigation of the Devil," says the pious 
Orderic, an unforeseen occurrence, pregnant with mis- 
chief to both nations and an omen of future calamities, 
suddenly occurred. For when Aldred, the Archbishop, 
demanded of the English, and Geoffrey, Bishop of 
Coutances, of the Normans, whether they consented to 
have William for their King, and the whole assembly 
with one voice, though not in one language, shouted 
assent, the men-at-arms on guard outside the Abbey, 
hearing the joyful acclamations of the people within in 


a language they did not understand, suspected some 
treachery, and rashly set fire to the neighbouring 

The flames spreading, the congregation, seized with 
a panic, rushed to the doors in order to make their 
escape, and a scene of the utmost confusion ensued, 
during which the ceremony of the coronation was with 
difficulty completed by the trembling clergy, the mighty 
Conqueror himself being seriously alarmed, not so 
much for his life as for the evil effects of this untoward 
event upon his new subjects. 

In 1069, when the West Saxons of Dorset and 
Somerset made an attack on Montacute, Bishop 
Geoffrey, at the head of the men of London, Win- 
chester, and Salisbury, fell upon them by surprise and 
routed them, putting many to the sword and miserably 
mutilating the prisoners. 

In 1071 he was appointed to represent the King at 
the trial of Bishop Odo, on the complaint of the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, as already mentioned ; and three 
years later we find him again in arms beside that same 
Odo, marching to suppress the rebellion of the Earls 
of Hereford and Norfolk, and for these and other ser- 
vices he was rewarded by the Conqueror with " two 
hundred and eighty vills, which are commonly called 


An assistant at the coronation of the Conqueror, he 
was an attendant at his funeral, and died on the 2nd 
of February, 1093-4, leaving his large domains in 
England to his nephew, Robert, Earl of Northumberland, 
son of his brother, Roger de Moubrai, who fought at 
Senlac, but of whom, strange to say, there appears 
no trace whatever of any benefit accruing to him 
for his services in that important action. His son, 
Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, having 
joined in the conspiracy against William Rufus in 
1095, was taken prisoner, and languished, we are 
told, thirty years in a dungeon at Windsor. Orderic 
describes him as distinguished for his great power and 
wealth, his bold spirit and military daring causing 
him to hold his fellow nobles in contempt, and being 
inflated with empty pride, he disdained obedience to 
his superiors. In person he was of great stature, 
size, and strength, of a dark complexion, and covered 
with hair. He was bold, but at the same time 
crafty. His features were melancholy and harsh. 
He reflected more than he talked, and scarcely ever 
smiled when he was speaking. 

It does not appear clearly by whom Robert de 
Mowbray was made Earl of Northumberland. 

After the beheading of Waltheof, one of the worst 
of the many infamoui acts of William the Conqueror, 


in 1075, the government of the province appears to 
have been confided to Walcher, Bishop of Durham, 
who was murdered during a popular commotion in 
1070. The earldom was then, it would seem, con- 
ferred on one Alberic, a Norman by birth, of whom 
a strange story is told. Being a person of great 
authority, and not satisfied with his own condition, he 
consulted the Devil, and was told that he should pos- 
sess Greece. Whereupon he made a voyage into that 
country ; but when the Greeks understood that his 
object was to reign over them, they despoiled him of 
all that he had with him, and expelled him the realm. 
Wearied with travel he returned to Normandy, where 
King Henry gave him a noble widow in marriage, and 
the priest at the altar asking the woman, whose name 
was Gracza, "Wilt thou have this man ?" the bride- 
groom was suddenly made aware of the illusion of the 
Evil one, 

" Keeping the word of promise to the ear 
To break it to the hope." 

If there be any truth in the fact of the marriage in 
the reign of Henry I., apart from the legendary 
portion of the story, how could Robert de Mowbray be 
Earl of Northumberland in the time of William the 
Conqueror, or even of his son Piufus ? 

As late as 1088 (1st of Rufus), Geoffrey, Bishop of 


Coutances, witnesses the charter of foundation of St. 
Mary's at York as Governor of the earldom : " Eo 
tempore Northymbrorum Consulatum reyebat" an 
office which we have seen stated to have been held by 
Walcher, Bishop of Durham, after the judicial murder 
of Waltheof, and previous to the gift of the earldom 
to Alberic. The latter may have either resigned or 
forfeited the earldom when he left England on his 
Grecian expedition, and Bishop Geoffrey held the 
government of the county until his death in 1093, 
when his nephew Robert, succeeding to all his vast 
estates, was probably advanced to the dignity of Earl 
of Northumberland by Rums. At any rate, I have 
not been able to arrive at any nearer approach to 
the fact. 

The wife of this Robert was Matilda, daughter of 
Richer de 1'Aigle, by his wife Judith, sister of Hugh, 
Earl of Chester. Orderic informs us that their union 
took place only three months before his insurrection, 
and that she was therefore early deprived of her 
husband, and long exposed to deep suffering, as during 
his life she could not, according to the law of God, 
marry again. At length by licence of Pope Paschal, 
before whom the case was laid by learned persons, 
after a long period Nigel de Albini took her to wife. 
Of her treatment by him we shall discourse hereafter. 


I have only mentioned the iact here as affecting the 
date of the dissolution of the marriage, Paschal II. 
having succeeded to the chair of St. Peter, 15th June. 
1099, and dying 21st June, 1118. 

Orderic Vital says in his 7th Book, that Robert 
de Mowbray was detained in captivity by Rufus and 
his brother Henry for nearly thirty-four years, living 
to an advanced age, without having any children. In 
his 8th Book, he reduces the term to thirty years, 
adding that " he grew old while paying the penalty of 
his crimes." Admitting the shortest period, his death 
could not have occurred before 1125. Dugdale, who 
gives the earliei*. date of 1106, with the addition 
of the statement of his being shorn a monk at St. 
Albans, takes not the slightest notice of these contra- 
dictions. His reference is to Vincent's " Discoverie of 
Brooke's Errors;" but if it be an error of Brooke, who 
quotes no authority for his statement, Vincent has not 
corrected him, which he would have been too happy 
to do had it been in his power. The difference 
between eleven years and thirty, or four-and-thirty, is 
rather an important one ; but I have been unable as yet 
to light upon any fact which would decide the question, 
which is only important in this inquiry as bearing 
upon another was he old enough in 1066 to be 
present at Hastings with his father Roger, " the Sire 


de Molbrai " of Wace, and therefore entitled to be 
included amongst the companions of the Conqueror ? 
If so, he must have been close upon fifty at the time 
of his marriage, and, according to Ordcric, an octoge- 
narian at that of his death. 





THIS great progenitor of the illustrious house of 
Clare, of the Barons Fitzwalter, and the Earls of 
Gloucester and Hertford, was the son of Gilbert, sur- 
named Crispin, Comte d'Eu and Brionne, grandson of 
Richard L, Duke of Normandy. Count Gilbert was 
one of the guardians of the young Duke William, and 
was murdered by assassins employed by Raoul de 
Gace*, as already related in the memoir of the Con- 
queror (vol. i., p. 16). Orderic gives us the name 
of one of the assassins Robert de Vitot ; and Guil- 
laume de Jumie'ges tells us that two of the family of 
Giroie fell upon and murdered him when he was 
peaceably riding near Eschafour, expecting no evil. 
This appears to have been an act of vengeance for 
wrongs inflicted upon the orphan children of Giroie 



by Gilbert, and it is not clear what Raoul de Gace had 
to do in the business. 

Fearing they might meet their father's fate, Richard 
and his brother Baldwin were conveyed by their 
friends to the court of Baldwin, Count of Flanders. 

On the marriage of Matilda of Flanders to Duke 
William in 1053, the latter, at the request of the 
Count, restored to the two sons of Gilbert the fiefs 
which in their absence he had seized and appro- 
priated, Richard receiving those of Bienfaite and 
Orbec, from the first of which, latinized Benefacta, he 
derived one of the various names whereby he is 
designated and the reader of history mystified. 

By Wace, who includes him among the combatants 
in the great battle, he is called 

" Dam Richart ki tient Orbec ; " 

and the exchange of Brionne for Tunbridge, in the 
county of Kent, obtained for him the appellation of 
Richard of Tunbridge. At the same time the gift 
of the honour of Clare in Suffolk added a fourth 
name to the list, which is swelled by a fifth, descriptive 
of his parentage, viz., Richard Fitz Gilbert. 

It is necessary for a reader to be acquainted with 
all these particulars, in order to identify the individual 
he meets with under so many aliases. 


In the exchange of the properties above mentioned 
a most primitive mode of insuring their equal value 
was resorted to. A league was measured with a rope 
round the Castle of Brionne, and the same rope being 
brought over to England, was employed in meting 
out a league round Tunbridge ; so that exactly the 
same number of miles was allotted to the latter estate 
as the former had been found to contain.* Besides 
Tunbridge, Richard possessed at the time of the com- 
pilation of Domesday one hundred and eighty-eight 
manors and burgages, thirty-five being in Essex and 
ninety-five in Suffolk. 

He was associated with William de Warren as 
High Justiciaries of England during the King's visit 
to Normandy in 1067, and actively assisted in the 
suppression of the revolt of the Earls of Hereford and 

Dugdale and others have confounded this Richard 
Fitz Gilbert or de Clare with his grandson of the same 
name, who was waylaid and killed by the Welsh 
chieftains, Jo worth and his brother Morgan-ap-Owen, 
in a woody tract called "the ill- way of Coed Grano," 
near the Abbey of Lanthony, in 1135.f Richard, the 
son of Gilbert Crispin, would at that date have been 

* Continuator of Guillaume de Jumieges. 

t Florence of Worcester, Henry of Huntingdon, Welsh Chronicle, 
sub anno, Giraldus Cambrensis, cap. yi. 

D 2 


nearly, if not quite, a hundred years old, and the 
Richard slain in " the Wood of Revenge," as it is. 
still called to this day, was the second son of the 
Gilbert who was lord of Tunbridge at the beginning 
of the reign of Rufus, and joined in the rebellion of 
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, against that monarch in 1088. 
(Vide vol. i., page 97.)*' 

The pedigree of this family is one of the most con- 
fused in Dugdale's " Baronage/' and has been the 
subject of some very severe comments by Mr. Hornby, 
who, while conferring great obligations upon us by his 
correction of the errors into which Dugdale has fallen, 
forgot those we are under to the learned and laborious 
herald for the mass of information collected and ren- 
dered accessible to us by his research and industry, 
and which he made doubly valuable by faithfully 
indicating the innumerable sources whence it was 
derived, enabling us to test the accuracy of his 
quotations and the credibility of the evidence. For- 
tunately, my present task is limited to the life of 
Richard de Bienfaite, which must have terminated 
either before or very early in the reign of Rufus, as 

* This later Eichard Fitz Gilbert is the one who was taken prisoner 
by Eobert de Belesme at the siege of Courci in 1091, and said to have 
died eventually from the effects of his incarceration (Ord. Vit., lib. 
viii., cap. 16), which it is clear he did not. 


his son Gilbert was in possession of Tunbridge in 

The continued alternation of the names of Richard 
and Gilbert in this particular line of Clare tends 
greatly to confuse the genealogist, and nothing but a 
rigid verification of dates can preserve us from the 
most inexplicable entanglements. Not only has Dug- 
dale reversed the order of events, but ascribed the 
same acts to both father and son, and recorded the 
same fate to Richard and his grandson. There is a 
curious indication of the probable date of the death of 
Richard de Bienfaite in the long, rambling, and ridi- 
culous story of an adventure which occurred to a 
priest named "NValkelin, afterwards known as St. 
Aubin, Bishop of Angers, and who in 1091 resided at 
Bonne val, in the diocese of Lisieux. At the commence- 
ment of the month of January in that year, having been 
summoned in the middle of the night to visit a sick 
man who lived at the further extremity of the parish, 
he was alarmed on his road homewards by what 
sounded like the tramp of a considerable body of 
soldiers, and thought it was part of the forces of Robert 
de Belesme on their march to lay siege to the Castle 
of Courci. Considering it prudent to avoid them, he 
made for a group of medlar trees at some distance 
from the road, with the intention of concealing himself 


behind them till the troops had passed ; but he was 
suddenly confronted by a man of enormous stature, 
wielding a massive club, who shouted to him, " Stand! 
Take not a step further ! " The priest, frozen with 
terror, remained motionless, leaning on his staff. The 
gigantic club-bearer stood close beside him, and with- 
out offering to do him any injury, awaited silently the 
passage of the troops. The moon, we are assured, shed 
a resplendent light, and speedily there appeared an 
apparently interminable procession of deceased persons 
of both sexes and all classes, amongst whom the 
priest recognised many of his neighbours who had 
lately died, and heard them bewailing the excruciating 
torments they were suffering for the evil they had 
done in their time. There were also ladies of high 
rank, and, mirabile didu, bishops, abbots, and monks, 
many of whom were considered saints on earth, all 
groaning and wailing, and these were followed by a 
mighty host of warriors, fully armed, on great war- 
horses, and carrying black banners. There were seen, 
says the narrator, Richard and Baldwin, sons of Count 
Gilbert, wlio were lately dead, and amongst the rest 
Landri of Orbec, who was killed the same year ; 
William de Glos, son of Barno, the steward of William 
de Breteuil and of his father, William, Earl of Here- 
ford ; and Robert, son of Ralph le Blond, the priest's 


own brother, with whom he had a long conversation 
on family matters. . 

I will spare the reader the more preposterous details 
of this absurd story and the sermons with which it is 
interlarded, merely observing that Orderic, who relates 
it, assures us that he heard it from the priest's own 
mouth, and saw the mark on his face which was left 
by the fiery hand of one of the terrible knights. We 
have, therefore, incidental evidence of one fact 
recorded in it, the death of Richard de Bienfaite 
and his brother Baldwin, before January, 1091, or, 
according to our present calculation, 1090, for Orderic 
sometimes begins his year at Christmas, and at others 
at Easter. 

The wife of Richard de Bienfaite, Lord of Tunbridge 
and Clare, was Rohesia, the only daughter of Walter 
Giffard, the first Earl of Buckingham, and by her he 
had six sons, Godfrey, Robert (from whom the Barons 
Fitz Walter), Richard, a monk at Bee, Walter and 
Roger, who both died without issue, and Gilbert, who 
succeeded him, and became the direct progenitor of the 
great Earl of Hertford and Gloucester. He had also 
two daughters, Rohesia, wife of Eudo Dapifer, and 
another unnamed, who married Ralph de Telgers. 

The fact that the first Fitz Walter was the great- 
grandson of Richard de Bienfaite is sufficient to prove 


that his (Fitz Walter's) name was subsequently intro- 
duced into the Roll of Battle Abbey. 


This younger brother of Richard de Bienfaite is not 
distinctly mentioned in the " Roman de Rou " in the 
list of the Norman knights at Hastings; but M. le 
Prevost considers him to have been the personage 
spoken of as 

" Oil ki fu Sire cle Eeviers." 

Notwithstanding that, he contends the first who 
assumed the name of Reviers was Richard, the son 
of this Baldwin, who in 1082 witnessed a charter to 
the Abbaye aux Dames, in which I believe him to be 

Wace so constantly leaves us to discover who was 
the " sire " of the fief he mentions at the date of the 
Conquest, and confounds the son with the father, that 
M. le Provost may be excused for his belief could he 
prove that Richard Fitz Baldwin was ever called 
" De Reviers," a vill near Creulli, arrondissement of 
Caen, from which the family of Rivers derived their 

Richard, indeed, could not have been in the battle, 
as he was living 1 seventy years afterwards, and could 
scarcely have been born in 1066. 


No special deeds are, however, recorded of the Sire 
de Keviers in that memorable conflict. He is only 
said to have" brought with him many knights, who 
were foremost in the fight, and trampled down the 
English with their powerful war-horses. 

Whatever were the services of Baldwin, he was re- 
warded by the gift of one hundred and sixty-four manors 
in the west of England, one hundred and fifty-nine 
being in the county of .Devon, besides nineteen houses in 
Exeter, and a site within the walls to build a castle on 
for his own residence, the government of the city and 
the shrievalty of the county being confided to him. 
He is therefore called Baldwin the Viscount, or the 
Sheriff, and Baldwin of Exeter, in addition to his 
Norman appellations, Baldwin de Sap, Baldwin de 
Meules, or, as it is latinised, de Molis (the two estates 
which were restored to him by Duke William at the 
same time that his brother Richard received Bienfaite 
and Orbec), and his patronymic Baldwin Fitz Gilbert 
de Brionne, or sometimes simply Baldwin de Brionne. 

Under each of these names he will be met with in 
different chronicles and histories, to the bewilderment 
of the readers unversed in Norman genealogy. 

By his wife Albreda,* who is said to have been a 

* Dugdalo oddly enough describes her as " niece to King William, 
viz., daughter of his aunt." Whichever she might be, she could not be 


daughter of an aunt of the Conqueror, and by some 
his niece, lie had issue three sons, Richard, Robert, 
and William, the second of whom in 1090 was 
intrusted with the custody of the Castle of Brionne, 
and on being commanded by the Duke of Normandy 
to deliver it up to Roger de Beaumont, to whom 
for a great sum of money Court-heuse had promised 
it, in his answer obliged us with the following 
pedigree : 

" If," he is reported to have said, " you will retain 
it in your own hands, as your father did, I will imme- 
diately render it to you, otherwise I will keep it as 
my own inheritance as long as I live. For it is very 
well known to all the inhabitants of this country that 
old Richard, Duke of Normandy, gave it with the whole 
country to Godfrey, his son, and that he at his death 
left it to Gilbert, his son, who, being barbarously 
murdered by wicked men, his sons for refuge fled to 
Baldwin, Count of Flanders ; whereupon your father 
(William the Conqueror), taking it wholly into his own 
hands, disposed thereof to several persons as he thought 
good ; but after a while, having wedded the daughter of 
the said Count of Flanders, at the request of that 
Count, he rendered to Baldwin, my father, Mola and 
Sappo (Meules and Sap), and gave him his aunt's 
daughter to wife ; and to Richard, my father's brother, 


he restored Benefact (Bienfaite) and Orbec, and 
lastly by your special favour I do now enjoy this 
Brionne, the principal town of Gilbert, iny grandfather.'"' 
If any dependence is to be placed on this passage in 
Orderic, it is clear that Robert de Meules must have 
known that his father's wife was the cousin of the 
Conqueror, and that his father was then dead, which 
corroborates the statement of the priest Walkelin, that 
Richard and Baldwin, sons of Count Gilbert, were 
recentlv deceased in 1090 or 1091. Baldwin is said to 


have had also three daughters, one of whom, named 
Adeliza, wife of Ralph Avenel, alone survived him, and 
a natural son named Guiger, who was shorn a monk in 
the Abbey of Bee. But who was his wife Albreda, 
said to have been a niece of Richard II., Duke of 
Normandy ? and who was Emma, another wife of 
Baldwin, twice mentioned by William, both as 
Duke of Normandy in 1066, and as King of 
England in 1082, in his charter to the Holy Trinity 
at Caen, and by which of them was his issue? 
For, be it remarked, that Robert, in his address to 
Court-heuse, though he speaks of his father having 
married a cousin of the Conqueror, does not call her 
his mother, nor by naming her enable us to identify 
her either as Albreda or Emma. 

In Domesday, "the wife of Baldwin the Sheriff" is 


returned as the holder of Wimple, in Devon, but 
unfortunately no Christian name is recorded. Pere 
Anselm gives Baldwin two wives 1, Albreda, and 2, 
Emma ; and suggests that the former was the child of 
an illegitimate daughter of Richard II., Duke of Nor- 
mandy, wife of Manger, Vicomte of the Cotentin, and 
quotes a charter of hers by which, with the consent of 
her sons Richard and Robert, she gives to the Abbey 
of Bee the land of Bradeforde and the Church of 
St. Michael d'Ermentonne. As the first wife of 
Baldwin this evidence is conclusive as regards Richard 
and Robert at any rate being the issue of Albreda. 
By his second wife Emma, with whose consent he 
gave the Churches of La Forest and two hundred 
acres of land in the same place to the Abbey of the 
Holy Trinity at Caen, he may have had the two 
youngest daughters, as one appears to have been 
named Emma, and married Hugues de Wast. 

And now to return to the question of who was " le 
Sire de Reviers " at Senlac, if Baldwin were not he. 
That he had a son Richard is indisputable ; but that 
son, known only as Richard Fitz Baldwin and Richard 
the Viscount, having succeeded his father in the 
shrievalty of Devonshire and the barony of Oke- 

* In M. de Magny's list we have Badouin and fioycr de Meules. 
"Who was Roger ? 


hampton, died in 1137 without issue, and being first 
buried at Brightly, was subsequently removed by his 
sister Adeliza, his sole heiress, to Ford Abbey ; and 
there is no authority for his having ever been called 
De Redvers or De Reviers. 

Dugdale, in his "Baronage" (vol. i., p. 785), has, 
however, confounded him with one who was well 
known by that title 


who died in 1107 (thirty years before Richard Fitz 
Baldwin), and was buried at Monteburgh, an abbey in 
Normandy, of which he appears to have been one of 
the earliest benefactors, if not the founder, by per- 
mission of William the Conqueror, in 1080. The top 
of his stone coffin was preserved from destruction by 
M. de Gerville, and the epithet " Fundator " was 
said to have been then visible upon it. 

But I am burying the man before I have brought 
him into existence ! Let us try, therefore, to discover 
his parentage, as it is quite clear he was not the son 
of Baldwin de Meules and Albreda, as till recently he 
has been recorded. 

The late Mr. Stapleton, in his Addenda to the second 
volume of his " Illustrations of the Norman Rolls of the 


Exchequer," appears to assert (for I confess I cannot 
clearly understand the passage) that he was the son of 
a William de Redvers ; but unfortunately does not 
print the charter on which he seems to found his 
opinion. In the grant of Lodres, in Dorsetshire, to the 
Abbey of Monteburgh, Richard de Redvers certainly 
gives " also the land which William de Redvers had 
in Monteburgh " (Gallia Christiana, vol. xi.), but he 
does not call him his father, or allude in any way to 
his relationship. In another charter printed by 
Mr. Stapleton, he speaks of his father and mother, but 
without naming them. 

In the cartulary of Carisbrook he is called the 
nephew of William Fitz Osbern, and the grant of 
the Isle of Wight to him after the death of Roger de 
Breteuil, Earl of Hereford, certainly gives some sup- 
port to the assertion. William Fitz Osbern had at 
least one other daughter besides the unfortunate 
Countess of Norfolk, of whom we learn no more 
than that she became the mother of Raynold de 
Cracci. Her daughter may have been the wife of 
Richard de Redvers, which would justify the expres- 
sion " nepos," used indifferently for nephew or grand- 

The continuator of Guillaume de Jumie'ges tells 
us that one of Gunnora's nieces married Osmund de 


Centumville (i. e. Cotenville), Vicomte de Vernon, and 
had by him Fulk de Aneio (a companion of the 
Conqueror of whom I shall have to speak) and several 
daughters, one of whom was the mother of the first 
Baldwin de Redvers : " qua mm mater fuit primi 
Baldwini de Revers " (cap. xxxvii.). Some have con- 
sidered this to apply to Baldwin de Brionne or de 
Meules, and others to the first Baldwin de Redvers, 
Earl of Devon, but the foundation charter to Monte- 
burgh appears to me to solve this riddle. Richard de 
Redvers (the founder) signs before Earl Simon and 
Earl Eustace, and following their signatures were those 
of " Baldwin, son of Richard de Redvers," and of 
Willermi (William) brother of the same Baldwin. 
Here we have a Baldwin de Redvers and a William 
his brother, giving credibility to the assertion that their 
grandfather might have been a William de Redvers, 
according to Mr. Stapleton.* At the same time 
it is probable that he was the first Baldwin de 
Redvers, and father of the Richard who was " the 
Sire de Reviers " at Hastings, and died in 1107, having 
been one of the principal counsellors and champions of 
Prince Henry in his conflicts with his brother, Robert 
Court-heuse, and who shortly after his accession to the 
throne in 1100, rewarded his friend's service by the 
* In both the French lists we find a "William as well as a Richard. 


gift of Tiverton and Plympton, and the third penny 
of the pleas of the county of Devon. 

Mr. Stapleton in his " Addenda," above mentioned, 
denies that this Richard de Redvers was ever Earl of 
Devon ; but if it be true that he had the third penny 
of the pleas, the gift of tertinm denarium would carry 
with it the earldom, though the ceremony of girding 
with the sword (generally supposed not to have been 
practised before the reign of John) might not have 
been performed. 

The argument that we do not find him styled Earl 
in contemporary documents is of no great value, as 
such omission is common in ancient charters ; but that 
his wife Adeliza thought him an earl is clear from her 
charter to Twinham, in which she gives to the 
Church of the Holy Trinity her Church of Thorlei for 
the health of the souls of her Lord Richard, Earl of 
Redvers, and of her son, Earl Baldwin ; the grant 
being made with the consent of " Earl Richard ; 
my grandson and heir." Here you will observe 
that she styles her husband, her son, and her 
grandson all earls, but not of Devon, though the two 
latter were so beyond question. Therefore the omis- 
sion cannot be used as an argument against the first. 

This Lady Adeliza was a daughter of William 
Peverel of Nottingham and his wife Adelina of Lan- 


caster, and her family by Richard de Redvers consisted 
of three sons, Baldwin, Earl of Devon, William, sur- 
named De Vernon, and Robert of St. Mary Church, 
and one daughter, Hawisia, wife of William de Rou- 
inare, Earl of Lincoln. Baldwin and William must 
both have been very young at the time they witnessed 
the charter to Monteburgh, as the former did not die 
till 1155. His mother survived him, but how long is 
not certain. She was dead before 1165, and must, if 
these dates can be relied on, have been nearly a 
centenarian. But for the precise information contained 
in her charter to Twinham, I should be inclined to 
believe with Dr. Oliver that a generation had been 
omitted in the pedigree. 


This Norman lord of a commune situated on the 
road from St. L6 to Bayeux, and where as late as 
1827 might be seen a few ruins of the castle which 
was the original stronghold of the family, is, according 
to Monsieur le Prevost, " one of the most authentic 
personages who can be named as having assisted at 
the battle of Hastings." (Note to " Le Roman de Rou," 
vol. ii., p. 256.) But we hear of him then for the 
first time, and simply as "le Sire de Monfichet, n 
without any exploit having been recorded of him. 



What is our astonishment, then, on consulting Dug- 
dale, to learn, on the authority of an ancient history of 
the family,* that the said Gilbert de Montfichet (Mont- 
fiquet) was a Roman by birth, descended from an old 
illustrious Roman family (De Montefixio ?) ; that he was 
in the habit of dispensing palatial hospitality to all royal 
visitors to the Papal Court, and specially entertaining 
William, Duke of Normandy, whenever he set foot in 
the sacred city ; and that he was a kinsman of the 
Duke, and privy to all his councils, especially to that 
design of King Edward the Confessor to make him 
his successor to the realm of England. 

How is it that in no contemporary historian can 
we find a trace of the Count, Marquis, or Duke of the 
Normans, as William is indifferently styled, having 
ever crossed the Alps, or extended his travels further 
than France, England, and Flanders ? As a boy he 
was at Paris ; as a man, at Poissy. In 1051 he was in 
England, arid it is believed in 1066 in Flanders ; but 
at what other time had he a day, I might almost say 
an hour, the occupation of which is not accounted for, 
rendering a journey to Rome in the interim an actual 
impossibility ? What can have been the origin of this 
extraordinary story ? How could Dugdale have copied 
this account without a comment? Is the whole 

Mon. Aug., vol. ii. p. 236. 


romance the concoction of David the Priest, a Scot 
by birth, whom Gilbert so loved that he gave to him 
a place called Tremhale, in the county of Essex, 
whereon to build a church and other monastic edifices, 
viz., the Priory of Tremhale, of which this ancient MS. 
would seem to have been one of the muniments ; and 
if so, how much are we to believe of it ? 

Utterly incredulous of the statement that he 
(Gilbert) entertained that Duke in his house when- 
ever he came to Rome which implies more than 
one visit to the Eternal City what faith are we 
to attach to the description of Gilbert's Italian 
extraction, and of his kinsmanship to the Conqueror? 
AVas he named after his property in the Roman States, 
and did he impart it to or derive it from this land in 
Normandy acquired by gift or marriage? Nothing 
has yet been discovered to elucidate the subject. We 
are ignorant of whom he married or when he died ; 
the aforesaid history merely informing us that, after 
the gift of Tremhale to the priest David, he returned 
to. Rome, leaving what he had obtained in England by 
his services to the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings 
and afterwards, to his son Richard, who, on arriving at 
man's estate, travelled to Rome, and being a person 
of extraordinary strength obtained much fame in 
casting a stone, no man being able to do the like, in 

E 2 


memory whereof certain pillars of brass were set up 
to mark the distance. 

What is nearly as singular as this story is the fact 
that the large possessions Gilbert is reported to have 
obtained in reward for his services are not to be found 
in Domesday, and that it is not till we come to a 
William Montfichet, apparently a grandson or great 
nephew of Gilbert the Roman, and the husband of 
Margaret de Clare, daughter of Gilbert Fitz Richard 
of Timbridge, that we find mention of any possessions 
in England whatever. 

Monsieur le Prerost asserts so positively that there 
can be no question but that Gilbert was the Sire de 
Montfichet mentioned by Wace amongst the com- 
batants at Senlac, that he must doubtlessly have 
found authority sufficient to justify his doing so. I 
should otherwise be inclined to consider the companion 
of the Conqueror was a William de Montfichet, father 
or uncle of the William above named, who had a wife 
named Rohais, and was certainly a contemporary of 
the Conqueror, as in his reign he granted to the monks 
of Croisy in Normandy the Church of St. Marculf, 
with the tithes thereto belonging, and one plough 
land ; also the Church of Fontenis and its tithes, with 
certain lands in Sotaville ; likewise two salt works, 
with two boats for great fish; the right use of every 


great fish, with one, piece, of the, small, and two islands 
lying in the sea. Surely at the time of this grant he 
must have been the Lord of Montfichet, but whether 
a brother or a son of Gilbert we are at present without 
means of even surmising. 

Dugdale has, I think, confounded him with his son 
or nephew, the second William, who was certainly the 
founder of the fortunes of the family in England,. most 
probably by his marriage with a daughter of the great 
house of Clare, with whose consent, and that of his 
son and heir, Gilbert, he founded in 1135 (35th 
Henry I.) the Abbey of Stratford Langton, in 
Essex, within the precincts of his lordship of West- 
ham. It was, I presume, in commemoration of this 
alliance that his descendants assumed the arms of 
Clare, unless, as some have suggested, they were 
themselves a branch of that great family, a conjec- 
ture the names of Gilbert and Richard certainly tend 
to support, as well as the tradition of their being kins- 
men of the Conqueror, but which would be fatal to 
the story of the descent from an illustrious race of 

The male line of William and Margaret de Clare 
terminated in their great-grandson Richard, Sheriff of 
the county of Essex, Governor of the Castle of Hert- 
ford, and Justice of the King's Forests in no less than 


fifteen English counties. His name descends to us 
with the town of Stansted-Montfichet, the seat of his 
barony in the reign of Henry III. Adelina, the second 
of his three sisters and coheirs, married William de 
Fortibus (second of that name), Earl of Albemarle, 
whose granddaughter Adelina, having first married 
Ingleram de Percy, became the wife of Edmund, sur- 
named Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, second son of 
King Henry III., but died without adding to the royal 
family of England. 


The owner of this great historical name, who accom- 
panied the Conqueror to England, was apparently the 
son of Robert le Bigod, the first of the name of whom 
we have any notice, and who was a witness to the 
foundation of St. Philibert-sur-Risle, in 1066. Wace, 
in his enumeration of the leaders in the host at 
Hastings, designates the member of this family simply 
as the ancestor of Hugh le Bigot, Lord of Maletot, 
Loges, and Canon. 

" L'Anccstre Hue le Bigot 
Ki avoit terre a Maletot, 
Etais Loges et a Chanon." 

Roman de Ron, 1. 1-377. 

Maletot is near Caen, Canon (Chanon) is in the arron- 


dissement of Lisieux, .and Loges may have been either 
Les Loges, near Aunay, or another commune of the 
same name in the neighbourhood of Falaise.* 

The possession of these lands in Normandy by " the 
ancestor of Hugh le Bigot " is a curious fact, taken 
into consideration with the account the monk of 
Jumieges gives of this ancestor. Robert le Bigod, he 
tells us, was a knight in the service of William Werlenc, 
or the Warling, Comte de Mortain, and so poor that 
he prayed his lord to permit him to go and seek his 
fortune in Apulia, where his countrymen were estab- 
lishing themselves and acquiring wealth and dignity 
under the leadership of Robert Guiscard. The Count 
bade him remain, assuring him that within eighty days 
he (Robert) would be in a position to help himself to 
whatever he 'desired in Normandy. 

Whether the Count contemplated the deposition of 
Duke William, or was privy to the design of others, 
may never be known, but Robert le Bigod, inferring 
from this advice that some rebellious movement was 
projected, repaired to Richard Goz, Vicomte of the 
Hiemois, who was at that moment highly in favour 
with the Duke, and requested him to obtain an audience 
for him. Richard, who, according to the same authority, 
was a kinsman of Robert it would be interesting to 

* Le Preyost : Notes to Le Rom. de Rou, TO!, ii., p. 256. 


learn how readily complied, and Le Bigod having 
repeated to the Duke the words of the Warling, the 
latter was instantly summoned to attend him, accused 
of treason, banished the country, and the Comte* of 
Mortain was bestowed upon the Duke's half-brother 
Robert, the son of Herleve by Herluin. That William 
jumped at this opportunity to rid himself of a possible 
competitor whose claim to the duchy was clearly 
stronger than his own, and at the same time to advance 
one of his own family who would have no such pre- 
tensions, there can be no doubt. The truth or false- 
hood of the story told to him by Kobert le Bigod has 
never been established. The defence of the accused, 
if he made any, has not been recorded ; and even 
Mr. Freeman admits that the Duke's "justice, if justice 
it was, fell so sharply and speedily as to look very like 
interested oppression." * We have seen in the previous 
notice of Eaoul de Gael what opinion was held in his 
own days of this suspicious act of the Conqueror. From 
that moment Kobert le Bigod became a confidential 
servant of his sovereign, and his sou Koger was the 
companion of the Conqueror, who for his services at 
Senlac received large grants of land in the counties of 
Essex and Suffolk, six lordships in the former and one 
hundred and seventeen in the latter. 

* Norm. Conq., vol. ii., p. 290. 


MODS, le Prevost remarks that Wace, always in- 
clined to treat tlie present as the past, has attributed 
to Roger the office of seneschal, which was only 
enjoyed by his second son William. With all de- 
ference, I think the learned antiquary has misunder- 
stood his author. Wace is not speaking of Roger le 
Bigod, the father of Hugh and William, but of " the 
ancestor of Hugh," Robert, as I take it, " who served 
the Duke in his house as one of his seneschals, which 
office he held in fee." 

Mr. Taylor remarks that there is no authority for 
this statement, yet we find that Roger, who was one 
of the privy councillors and treasurer of the Duke, 
was seneschal or steward to Henry I., after the decease 
of his father, and that both William and Hugh, his 
sons, succeeded each other in that high office, which is 
a fair corroboration of the assertion that it was held in 
fee. If Wace be in error it is in his intimation, as I 
understand him, that it was Hugh's grandfather 
Robert, and not his father, Roger, who accompanied 
Duke William to Hastings. 

As we have no means at present of ascertaining the 
age of Robert when he accused his lord of treason, it 
is not improbable that he, as well as his son Roger, 
was at Senlac. The latter survived the Conquest 
forty-three years, and may have been a young man in 


1066, and his father not too old to bestride a war 
steed and lead his retainers into action. Whether 
father or son, we are told that " he had a large troop, 
and was a noble vassal. He was small of body, but 
very brave and daring, and assaulted the English with 
his mace gallantly." (Roman de Rou, 1. 13,682-87.) 
We hear nothing of him during the reign of the first 
William, but at the commencement of that of the 
second, Eoger le Bigod is found amongst the adherents 
of Eobert Court-heuse, fortifying his castle at Norwich 
and laying waste the country round about : whether 
eventually reconciled to Rufus, or what was the result 
of the suppressed rebellion to him personally, we are 
without information; but in the first year of the reign 
of Henry I., being one of those who stood firm to the 
King, he had Framlingham, in Suffolk, of his gift. 

In 1103, by the advice of King Henry, Maud the 
Queen, Hubert Bishop of Norwich, and his own wife, 
the Lady Adeliza, one of the daughters and co-heirs 
of Hugh de Grentmesnil, seneschal of England, he 
founded the Abbey of Thetford, in the county of 
Norfolk, and, dying in 1107, was buried there. 

By the Lady Adeliza he is said to have had seven 
children William, his son and heir, who by his 
charter, confirming his father's gift to Thetford, informs 
us that he was " Dapifer regis Anglorum ;'" 2. Hugh 


le Bigod, the first earl ; 3. Richard ; 4. Geoffrey ; 5. 
John j 6. Maud, wife of William de Albini Pincema ; 
and 7. Gunnora, who married, first, Robert of Essex, 
and, secondly, Hamo de Clare. William perished in 
the fatal wreck of the White Ship, and Hugh, his 
brother and heir, in his turn steward of the King's 
household, was eventually created Earl of Norfolk; 
his descendants, by a match with Maud, the eldest 
daughter and co-heiress of the Marshals, Earls of 
Pembroke, becoming marshals of England, an office 
enjoyed to this day by the Dukes of Norfolk. 

The name and origin of this family, Mr. Taylor 
remarks, seem more worthy of consideration than has 
hitherto been given to it.* The name is spelt in- 
differently Bigod, Bigot, Bihot, Vigot, Wigot, Wihot, 
and Wigelot, generally with the prefix of " le." The 
Normans are represented by the French to be " Bigoz 
and Drauchiers ; " the latter term is understood to 
mean consumers of barley perhaps beer-drinkers 
and the former presumed to have been given them 
from their constantly taking the name of the Almighty 
in vain. Anderson, in his " Genealogical Tables," 
says, without quoting his authority, that Rollo was 
styled " Bygot," from his frequent use of the phrase. 
This derivation receives some support from the well 

* Notes to Rom. de Eou, p. 235. 


known story of the altercation between Edward I. and 
Roger le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, nephew of the former 
Roger, which is recorded unfortunately in Latin by 
Walter of Hemingford, and is therefore deprived of its 
otherwise singularly illustrative application, which, if 
the words were spoken in English, would be of some 
weight in the argument. 

In answer to the King's declaration, "By God, 
Earl, you shall either go or hang!" the undaunted 
baron replied, " By the same oath, King, I will 
neither go nor hang ! " The " per Deum " and the 
" per idem juramentum " of the chronicler leaves us in 
uncertainty whether or not a play on the words was 
intended by either speaker. 

I have a theory of my own, which I by no means 
insist upon, but only offer for the consideration of those 
most competent to investigate the subject. The prefix 
" le " distinctly points out that the name is not derived 
from a possession or a place of birth. It is either a 
personal or a general designation. Personal it cannot 
be in this case, as it is applied to the whole nation, 
and we are therefore driven to the conclusion that it 
either alluded to a national habit or a national origin. 

The former is the received opinion, as stated above ; 
but it has to be shown that the purely Teutonic words, 
" Bei Gott" were used in common parlance by the 


Normans. We find their war-cry was " Dex aie," and 
" par Die ; " " par Dieu " is to this day so constantly 
in the mouth of a Frenchman that he could scarcely 
disparage a foreigner for an equally common breach of 
the third commandment in any language. 

I am inclined to believe the Normans were consi- 
dered by the French as a race of Goths (as indeed 
they were) a barbarous people, such as even now we 
should describe as "Goths and Vandals;" and the 
south of France having been subdued and occupied by 
them for nearly five centuries by that branch of the 
great Sythic family, distinguished as the West Goths or 
Visigoths, the latter appellation being more familiar to 
the French may have been corrupted into Vigot and 
Bigot, from which source I would also derive the well- 
known Norman name of Wigod. 

The example I have already given of similar cor- 
ruptions in the name of Raoul de Gael (p. 10, ante) will, 
I think, justify me in suggesting, on these grounds, 
that the family of Le Bigod was of Visigothic origin, 
and, as in the case of Baldric the German, or Robert 
the Frison, had assumed or been designated by the 
name of their race and country, of which they were 
proud, notwithstanding the sense wherein it was ap- 
plied by the French to the Normans generally. We 
have "le Angevin," " le Fleming," " le Breton," "le 


Poiteviri," " le Scot," &c., and in tins category I think 
we may class " le Vigot," an abbreviation of " le 
Visigot," spelt, as we find it, indifferently with a " B " 
or a " W" (Bigot and Wigot), according to the parti- 
cular dialect of the writers. The application of the 
name to the Normans generally, while it proves that it 
was not derived from any hereditary possession or 
personal peculiarity, as in other cases, also testifies 
to the purity of the family, which was distinguished 
amongst its own people by the designation of that great 
Gothic stock whence they commonly proceeded. 

A signet ring was dug up some few years ago on 
one of the estates in Norfolk which had belonged to 
this family, exhibiting the figure of a goat, with the 
word " By " above it, being a punning device or rebus 
" By Goat." It is engraved in Mr. Taylor's translation 
of the " Roman de Rou " (p. 235, note), but of the legend 
round it the word "God" is alone distinguishable. 
This, however, is merely a mediaeval curiosity of no 
importance to the question of derivation. To settle 
that question we must " learn to labour and to wait." 





" De Bohun le Vieil Onfrei." 

Roman de Ron, 1. 13,583. 

WACE appears to be specially addicted to represent 
the companions of the Conqueror as venerable from 
age as renowned for their valour. Humphrey " with 
the beard," however, who is the De Bohun he is here 
commemorating, may, with some propriety, be styled 
" the old," as there is evidence that previous to the 
Conquest he had been thrice married ; his grant to 
the nuns of St. Amand at Rouen of a tithe of his own 
plough and a garden, being made for the health of 
his soul and the souls of his three wives, not one of 
whom unfortunately is named, but it is witnessed by 
" William Comes," as the Duke of Normandy was 
often termed prior to his elevation to the throne of 


England, the titles of Count and Duke being indif- 
ferently used by him and by his predecessors. 

The practice of close shaving amongst the Nor- 
mans, and which caused the spies of Harold to report 
that the invading army was an army of priests, is 
further illustrated by such distinctions as " with the 
beard," and " with the whiskers," being employed to 
identify particular members of a family. Several 
examples of this practice have already been noticed. 

Of the origin of the De Bohuns very little has yet 
been discovered. We are vaguely informed that the 
first of this name known to us, the aforesaid Hum- 
phrey with the beard, was a near kinsman of the 
Conqueror, but in what particular degree, or by which 
of the many branches, legitimate and illegitimate, of 
the ducal house of Normandy, no information is 
afforded us. After the Conquest he became possessed 
of the lordship of Talesford, in the county of Norfolk, 
so that whatever his relationship to or support of 
William may have been, no very great benefit appears 
to have resulted from it. 

Bohun, or rather Bohon, the place whence the 
family derived its name, is situated in the arrondisse- 
ment of St. L6, in the Cotentin, where are still the 
communes of St. Andre* and St. George de Bohon. 
The mound of the castle was visible some thirty years 


ago, and may be still. The honour of Bohon was in 
possession of this Humphrey at the time of the 
Norman invasion, and his later gift of the Church of 
St. George de Bohon as a cell to the Abbey of 
Marmoutier, is confirmed by William, King of the 
English, " his Queen Mathildis, his sons Robert and 
William, his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, 
Michael, Bishop of Avranches, Roger de Montgomeri, 
and Richard, son of Turstain," husband of Emma de 
Conteville, which certainly supports the belief that he 
was closely connected with the Conqueror, probably 
by one of his wives, respecting whose parentage we 
are left so provokingly in the dark. 

He died before 1113, having had issue three sons 
and two daughters, but by which wife or wives we are 
unhappily in ignorance. How important, genealogi- 
cally, to the descent it is scarcely necessary to observe. 
One of the daughters appears to me to have been 
named Adela ; at least I find an Adela, aunt of Hum- 
phrey de Bohun, in the Fine Roll for Wiltshire, 31st of 
1 Henry L, and it could not have been on the mother's 
side, or she would have been a daughter of Edward 
of Salisbury, that mysterious personage, one of whose 
daughters, named Maud or Mabel, was wife of Hum- 
phrey II., the youngest of the three sons of " old Hum- 
phrey," and the founder of the fortunes of the family. 



The eldest son, Robert, died, in his father's lifetime 
apparently, unmarried ; and from Richard, the second 
son, descended in the female line the Bohuns of Mid- 
hurst, in Sussex ; but the grandeur of the Bohuns 
was due to the extraordinary succession of great 
matches made by the descendants of the youngest 
sons, who became Earls of Hereford, Essex, and 
Northampton, the co-heiresses of the eleventh and last 
Humphrey de Bohun being the wives, one of Thomas 
of Woodstock, Earl of Gloucester, and son of King 
Edward III., and the other of Henry, surnamed 
Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lan- 
caster, and subsequently ascending the throne of 
England as King Henry IV. 


"Henri le Sire de Terriers," commemorated by 
Wace as a combatant at Senlac, was Seigneur de 

' O 

Saint Hilaire de Ferriers, near Bernay, and son of 
Walkelin de Ferrers, who fell in a contest with the 
first Hugh de Montfort we hear of in the early days 
of Duke William II., and therefore, though a younger 
son, for he had an elder brother named Guillaume, 
who, Monsieur de Pluquet tells us, was also in the 
great battle, must have been well advanced in years 
in 1066. 


Whatever his services, it was not till after Hugh 
d'Avranches was created Earl of Chester, in 10 71, that 
Henry de Ferrers received at least the Castle of 
Tutbury, his "caput Baronie," which had been pre- 
viously granted to the said Hugh, and resigned by 
him on becoming Earl of Chester. In 1085, we 
find him appointed one of the commissioners 
for the general survey of the kingdom, and in 
that year he is recorded as the holder, besides the 
Castle of Tutbury, of seven lordships in Stafford- 
shire, twenty in Berkshire, three in Wiltshire, five in 
Essex, seven in Oxfordshire, two in Lincolnshire, two 
in Buckinghamshire, one in Gloucestershire, two in 
Herefordshire, three in Hampshire, thirty-five in 
Leicestershire, six in Warwickshire, three in Notting- 
hamshire, and one hundred and fourteen in Derby- 
shire ! When bestowed, however, or how obtained, 
whether wholly by grant of the King, or partly by 
marriage, is not recorded. Neither have we succeeded 
in identifying his wife, Berta, in conjunction with 
whom he founded and richly endowed the Priory of 
Tutbury in 1089, "by the concession and authority of 
William the younger (Kufus), King of the English." 
The date of his death also is unknown ; but he had 
issue three sons, Enguenulf, William, and Robert. The 
two eldest died in his lifetime without issue, and 

F 2 


Robert, who succeeded him, was the first Earl of 
Ferrers, not Earl Ferrers, as incorrectly described by 
some, but " Robertus, Comes de Ferrarius " or " de 
Ferriers," as in the charter of the second Earl Robert, 
who was also Earl of Nottingham, and according to 
Orderic Vital, the first Earl of Derby. 

It is no part of the plan of this work to enter into 
details respecting the descendants of the actual com- 
panions of the Conqueror, but there are exceptions 
to most, if not to all, rules, and there is so little to be 
said about Henry de Ferrers, and so much about his 
immediate successors, that I am tempted to depart 
from my own rule on this occasion. 

There is considerable difference of opinion, in the 
absence of indubitable facts, as to which of these two 
Roberts father and son distinguished himself in the 
famous battle at Northallerton, known as the Battle 
of the Standard, also as to the exact period at which 
the earldoms of Nottingham and Derby were conferred 
upon an Earl of Ferrers; but the principal bone of con- 
tention is the identification of the fortunate member 
of that family who married Margaret, daughter and 
heiress of William Pevercl, Lord of Nottingham, who 
was dispossessed of his estates by King Henry II., for 
conspiring with Maud, Countess of Chester, to poison 
her husband, Ranulph Gernoiis, Earl of Chester, in 1 155. 


Now this is a very curious story, which has been 
received in perfect confidence, and handed down from 
writer to writer, as a portion of the history of Eng- 
land, until, at the Newark Congress of the British 
Archaeological Association, I ventured to question the 
very existence even of the Margaret Peverel, who has 
been married by various genealogists to at least three 
.successive Earls of Ferrers. 

In the charter of King Stephen to the monks of 
Lanton we find mention of this William Peverel, of 
Jiis wife Oddona, and his son Henry, at that time most 
probably his heir apparent ; but there is no notice 
-of any daughter, and the rolls of the reign of Henry I., 
Stephen, and Henry II., in which mention is made 
of many Peverels, including the mother and sister of 
William Peverel of Nottingham, are equally silent on 
the score of a daughter, and acknowledge no Margaret 
Peverel of any branch. 

Vincent gives Margaret to the first Earl William, 
who tells us himself that his wife's name was Sibilla ; 
others to William's father, the second Eobert, who 
-explicitly declares that his wife was another Sibilla, 
daughter of William, Lord Braose of Bramber; and 
my dear lamented friend, the late Rev. C. Hartshorne, 
in the " Archaeological Journal" (vol. v., p. 129), calls 


Margaret the wife of the fiist Bobert, who married 
Ha wise de Vitry. 

For the proof that "William was the happy man we 
are referred to the Oblate Eoll of the 1st of John, in 
which it is said that William, the third earl of that 
name, calls Margaret his grandmother. Now here is 
the entry referred to, in which you will find no such 
thing : " The Earl of Ferrers gives two thousand 
marks for Hecham, Blidsworth, and Newbottle, that 
the King may forego all claim to other lands which 
were William Pevercl's, and the King gives to him 
the park of Hecham, which the Lord Henry, his- 
great-grandfather (that is, King Henry II.) gave in 
exchange to the ancestors of William Pcverel,"' 
Where is Margaret ? Where any mention of the 
grandmother of the Earl of Ferrers ? 

The next reference is to a plea-roll of the 25th 
of Henry HI., which certainly proves that some Earl 
of Ferrers assumed a right of heirship to William 
Peverel, but by no means hints that it was in right 
of his wife, or makes any mention of Margaret. The 
words are remarkable. The Earl of Ferrers is therein 
stated to have made himself heir of the aforesaid 
William Peverel, and to have intruded himself into- 
the same inheritance during the Avar between the 
King and his barons. Now, we are told that one of 


the earliest acts of Henry II. in [the year after his 
accession, viz., 1155, was to disinherit William Peverel, 
the staunch supporter of his old rival Stephen, upon 
the opportune charge of poisoning the Earl of Chester, 
as before mentioned. Henry himself does not charge 
him specifically with it, but the cause is distinctly 
stated by the Chronicon Roffense, the register of Dun- 
stable, Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, and 
Gervase of Dover, a goodly array of highly respectable 

But how are we to reconcile this statement with the 
fact that Henry, before he ascended the throne, most 
probably at the time of the pacification with Stephen 
in 1152, and certainly not later than 1153, in which 
year Earl Ranulph died, gave to this very Ranulph the 
man Peverel is accused of poisoning, with other large 
estates of hostile nobles, the castle and town of Not- 
tingham, and the whole fee of William Peverel, 
wherever it was (with the exception of Hecham) unless 
he (William Peverel) could acquit and clear himself of 
his wickedness and treason ? Are we not justified in 
believing, upon the evidence of this agreement for 
such is the nature of the instrument, which is wit- 
nessed by parties both for Henry and Ranulph, that 
Peverel was dispossessed of his estates, not for assist- 
ing to poison the Earl of Chester, for to that very 


Earl the estates are given, but for wickedness and 
treason generally in plain words, for supporting 
Stephen manfully and faithfully against Henry and 
his mother \ 

Such was evidently the opinion of Sir Peter 
Leycester, who printed this important document at 
length in his " Prolegomena/' prefaced with these 
words, " How Bandal Earl of Chester was rewarded 
for taking part with Henry Fitz-Empress, being yet 
but Duke of Normandy and Earl of Anjou, may 
appear by this deed following." No hint of its being a 
compensation to him for injury inflicted by Peverel. 

And what was the punishment of the Countess 
Maud, the supposed accomplice of Peverel, and if so, 
the most culpable of the twain ? She survived the Earl 
her husband many years, and her name is associated 
with that of her son, Hugh Kevilioc, in several acts 
of benevolence and piety, amongst them actually the 
purchase of absolution for her husband, who died 

Hugh Kevilioc, who succeeded to his father's earl- 
dom with all his possessions, had a daughter named 
Agnes, who became the wife of William, second of 
that name, Earl of Ferrers and Derby, and thus it is 
clearly evident how that Earl made himself heir of 
Peverel and intruded himself into that inheritance, 


having purchased Hecham of the King, which had 
been excepted from the rest of the fee of Peverel in 
the grant of Henry Duke of Normandy to Ranulph 
Gernons, and claiming heirship to the estates of 
Peverel, in right of his wife Agnes, sister and co-heir 
of Ranulph Blondeville, Earl of Chester, the grandson 
of the grantee, and not through any marriage with 
this phantom Margaret Peverel, no trace of whom has 
ever been found in one authentic document. 

The reputed victim of Peverel's machinations is said 
by King, in his " Vale Royal," to have died after 
lingering in agonies, " which I suspect to be an absurd 
translation of the " post multos agones " of Gervasc 
of Dover. His words arc, " post multos agones mili- 
taris glorise," and the context proves that the words 
do not apply to bodily torture, but to struggles or 
contests as a soldier in pursuit of military glory. 
(Vide Ducange sub agonia and agonizare.) 

What conclusive proof have we that Ranulph, Earl 
of Chester died of poison at all ? " Ut fama fuit " is 
all Gervase of Dover can say about it. 


This progenitor of one of the noblest and most 
powerful families on either side of the channel is simply 
alluded to by Wace as "li Sire de Maguevile"(l. 13,562). 


The French antiquaries, whilst agreeing as to the 
individual present at Hastings, differ respecting the 
locality whence he derived his name ; Mons. le 
Prevost considering it to be Magneville, near Valonges, 
while Mons. Delisle reports that it was Mandeville le 
Trevieres, the Norman estates of the Magnavilles, 
Mandevilles, or Mannevilles, as they were indifferently 
called, lying partly in the neighbourhood of Creulli, 
and the rest round Argentan, where, at a later period, 
they held the honour of Chamboi. 

No particular feat of arms is attributed to him by 
the Norman poet. He is only mentioned as one who 
rendered great aid in the decisive battle, and we find 
him in consequence rewarded with ample domains in 
England at the time of the great survey, amounting 
to one hundred and eighteen lordships in various 
counties, of which Walden, in Essex, was the chief 
seat of his descendants, who became the first Norman 
earls of that county in the reign of Stephen. 

He was also the first Constable of the Tower of 
London after the Conquest, an office enjoyed by his 
grandson of the same name, which I mention on 
account of the interesting fact that, in the charter 
of the Empress Matilda, which confers this amongst 
many other honours bestowed upon him, the custody 
of the Tower of London is granted to him and his 


heirs, with the little castle there (described in another 
charter as under it) which belonged to Ravenger. 

This charter in which she creates Geoffrey de Man- 
deville (grandson of the companion of the Conqueror) 
Earl of Essex, is stated in a marginal note in Dugdale's 
Baronage to be " the most ancient creation charter 


which hatli been ever known/' and, I may add, for 
the numberless concessions and privileges recorded in 
it, the most remarkable. 

To return to the first Geoffrey, we learn from his 
charter of foundation of the Benedictine Monastery of 
Hurley, in Berkshire, that he was twice married. His 
first wife Athelaise (Adeliza) being the mother of his 
heir William de Mandeville, and other children not 
named ; and his second wife, Leceline, by whom he 
appears to have had no issue. 

Mr. Stapleton, in his annotations to the Norman 
Eolls of the Exchequer, suggests that Adeliza, the first 
wife of Geoffrey, was sister to Anna, wife of Turstain 
Haldub, mother of Eudo al Chapel. 


Of this noble Norman we have considerable infor- 
mation afforded us by Orderic, in consequence of his 
being one of the founders of the Abbey of Ouche, 
better known as that of St. Evroult, in which the 


historian was professed a monk by the venerable Abbot 
Maiiier, in the eleventh year of his age, by the name of 
Vitalis (Vital), and in which monastery he lived fifty- 
six years. 

From him we learn that Hugh de Grentmesnil was 
one of the sons of a Robert de Grentmesnil (now known 
as Grandmesnil, in the arrondissement of Lisieux) by 
Hawise de Giroie, which Robert was mortally wounded 
in the battle between Roger de Toeni and Roger de 
Beaumont, already mentioned, vol. i., pp. 19, 217. 

He fought on the side of De Toeni, and being 
carried off the field, lingered for three weeks, and 
then died and was interred without the Church 
of St. Mary at Norrei, between Grandmesnil and 
Falaise. His issue by Hawise de Giroie was two 
sons, Robert and Hugh, between whom he divided 
his property. 

Robert became a monk in the abbey he had assisted 
to re-edify. Hugh, who was " eminent for his skill and 
courage," was, through the machinations of Mabel de 
Montgomeri, banished by Duke William without any 
real cause of offence in 1058, but recalled from exile 
in 1063, and intrusted with the custody of the Castle 
of Neufmarche-en-Lions, from which the Duke, on 
equally slight grounds, had expelled Geoffrey de Neuf- 
marche', the rightful heir ; and nobly forgetful of past 


injustice, did the valiant Hugh justify the trust reposed 
in him, restoring in the course of a year the disturbed 
district to perfect tranquillity. We next find him 
amongst the principal combatants in the great battle, 
but he surely cannot be the person described by Wace 
as "a vassal of Grandmesnil," who was in great peril 
during the action in consequence of his horse becoming 
masterless through the breaking of his bridle-rein in 
leaping over a bush.. He was near falling, and the 
English perceiving his flight ran towards him with 
their long axes, but the horse taking fright, and wheel- 
ing suddenly round, bore his rider safely back into the 
ranks of the Normans. Hugh was certainly a vassal 
of the Duke of Normandy, but a baron of his reputa- 
tion and power would scarcely be so described by 
Wace. Mons. le Prevost, however, appears by his note 
on the passage to consider it refers to Hugh himself, 
and Mr. Taylor follows him without comment. It 
may perhaps be argued that there is nothing in the 
incident itself to give it sufficient importance to be re- 
corded by the poet unless the person endangered was 
some one of consequence. At all events, Hugh de 
Grentmesnil was certainly present at Senlac, and no 
doubt did his devoir, as he was wont to do ; for in 
1067 we find him one of the principal persons joined 
with William Fitz Osbern and Bishop Odo in the 


government of England during the King's absence in 
Normandy, and besides the donation of one hundred 
manors in this country, sixty-five of which were in 
Leicestershire, he was appointed Viscount (i.e., sheriff) 
of that county and Governor of Hampshire. 

He was one of the Norman nobles who interceded 
with the Conqueror in favour of Eobert Court-heuse, 
and effected a temporary reconciliation. On the 
accession of Eufus he espoused the cause of the 
young duke ; but like many others of his rank and 
country, weary of his vacillations, and disgusted by 
his general conduct, he ultimately took part against 

In 1090 we find him in Normandy, in his old age, 
strenuously opposing the aggressions of the detestable 
Kobert de Belesme, who had erected strongholds at 
Fourches and at La Conebe, on the river Orme, 
whence he made inroads on his neighbours, and 
harried all the country round. 

Hugh de Grentmesnil and Richard de Courci, whose 
domains lay nearest to him, and most exposed to his 
depredations, were the first to take arms against him. 
Both these knights were now grey-headed, but their 
spirit was unbroken, and their intimate connection 
strengthened the bond of friendship between them, 
Richard de Courci, the son of Richard, having married 


Kohesia, daughter of Hugh. Matthew, Count of 
Beaumont-sur-rOise, brother-in-law of Hugh, William 
de Warren, second Earl of Surrey, with many other 
knights, hastened to their support, eager to exhibit 
their prowess in such a field. Theobald, son of 
Walter de Breteuil, called " the White Knight," because 
his steed and appointments were all white, and his 
brother-in-arms Guy, called " the Ked Knight " for a 
similar reason, were slain in some of these encounters ; 
but Eobert de Belesme finding that he was unable to 
cope alone with his brave and resolute opponents, pre- 
vailed on the Duke of Normandy, by humble supplica- 
tions and specious promises, to march to his assistance. 
In the month of January, 1091, the Duke accordingly 
laid siege to Courci-sur-Dive ; but unwilling to come 
to extremities with his great nobles, took no measures 
for closely investing the place. De Belesme, however, 
used every means by force and stratagem to get pos- 
session of the castle. He caused a huge machine, 
called a belfry (berfradum), being a wooden tower 
containing a number of stages or floors, and moving 
on wheels, to be constructed and rolled up to the 
castle walls, filled with soldiers, who could leap from 
it on to the battlements, or fight hand to hand with 
the defenders ; but the device proved in vain, for as 
often as he attempted an assault, a powerful force 


from Grentmesnil hastened to the rescue, and drew 
him off from the attack. 

In one of these conflicts the garrison during a rally 
took prisoners William, son of Henry de Ferrers 
(who fought at Hastings), and William de Rupiere, 
whose ransoms were a great assistance to the 
besieged ; but, on the other hand, the besiegers cap- 
tured Ivo, one of the sons of Hugh de Grentmesnil and 
Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare, the latter of whom did 
not lonoj survive the horrors of the dungeon to which 

O O 

De Belesrne consigned him. 

An oven had been built outside the fortifications, 
between the castle gate and De Belesme's belfry, and 
there the baker had to bake the bread for the use of 
the garrison, the siege having been begun so suddenly 
that the inhabitants of Courci had no time to con- 
struct one within the walls. The thickest of the fight 
was therefore often around this oven, for the men of 
Courci stood in arms to defend their bread while 
De Belesme's followers endeavoured to carry it off. 
This led occasionally to a general engagement, in 
which there was much slaughter, without special 
advantage to either side ; but in one of them, the 
besiegers having repulsed their assailants, set fire to 
the belfry, and succeeded in destroying it. 

Hugh de Grentmesnil, who did not bear arms him- 


self, on account of his advanced age, was much dis- 
tressed by the long continuance of the siege, and in 
consequence sent the following message to the Duke 
of Normandy: " I long served your father and grand- 
father, and suffered much in their service ; I have also 
always been loyal to you. What have I done 1 Tn 
what have I offended you ? How have I merited at 
your hands this hostility ? I openly acknowledge 
you as my liege lord, and on that account will not 
appear in arms against you ; but I offer you two 
hundred Hvres to withdraw when it may suit your 
pleasure for one single day, that I may fight Robert 
de Belesme ! " Orderic has not acquainted us with 
the reply of Court-heuse to this manly appeal of the 
chivalric old warrior, who, as he mentions his service 
to the Duke's grandfather, could not at this period 
have been much under eighty. 

At all events, neither the letter nor the mediation 
of Gerrard, Bishop of Se'ez, who took up his abode at 
the Convent of Dive during the siege, in the hope of 
restoring peace in his diocese, had any effect upon 
either the Duke or Robert de Belesme ; but the 
arrival of King William (Rufus) with a great fleet 
caused them to decamp with all haste and dis- 
band their forces, each man returning to his own 



Three years afterwards, Hugh de Grentmesnil was 
again in England, and worn out with age and 
infirmity, finding his end approaching, assumed, in 
accordance with the common practice of the period, 
the habit of a monk, and expired six days after he 
had taken to his bed, 22nd of February, 1094, accord- 
ing to our present calculation, and presumably in the 
city of Leicester. 

His body, preserved in salt and sewn up in the hide 
of an ox, was conveyed to Normandy by two monks 
of St. Evroult, named Bernard and David, and honour- 
ably buried by the Abbot Roger on the south side 
of the Chapter House, near the tomb of Abbot 

Arnold de Tillieul, his nephew, caused a marble 
slab to be placed over his grave, for which Orderic 
tells us he himself furnished the Latin epitaph in 
heroic verse, with which he obliges his readers; but 
as it is simply laudatory I will not inflict it on mine, 
observing only that it is a relief to feel that in this 
instance the praise appears to have been truly de- 
served, as I find nothing recorded of Hugh de Grent- 
mesnil that does not redound to his credit. 

In his youth we are told he married a very beauti- 
ful lady, Adeliza, daughter of Ivo, Count of Beau- 
mont-sur-1'Oise, by his first wife Judith, with whom 


he had Brokesbourne, in Herefordshire, and three 
lordships in Warwickshire. 

She died at Kouen seven years before her husband, 
and was buried in the Chapter House of St. Evroult,* 
having had issue by him five sons and as many 
daughters namely, Eobert, William, Hugh, Ivo, and 
Aubrey ; Adeline, Hawise, Rohais, Matilda, and 
Agnes none of whom except Robert lived to an 
advanced age, and he, although thrice married, died 
without issue in 1136. Hugh died young. William, 
Ivo, and Aubrey forfeited their reputation for bravery 
by their dishonourable and ludicrous escape from 
Antioch, which obtained for them the name of rope- 
dancers. With the exception of Hawise, who died 
unmarried, his daughters became the wives of noble 
knights : Adeline,~of Roger d'lvri, Rohais, of Robert 
de Courci, Matilda, of Hugh de Montpincon, and 
Agnes, of William de Say. 


I have just mentioned Robert, the son of this 
Richard, and son-in-law of Hugh de Grentmesnil, and 
shall conclude this chapter with a notice of this 

* A charter of her son IYO indicates that she was buried at Ber- 

o 2 


memorable family, the direct male descendant of 
\vliich wears at the present day the coronet of a baron, 
one of the very few instances that can be quoted of an 
unbroken line of nobles in the same family from the 

Wace simply mentions " Oil de Corcie " amongst 
those knights who " that day slew many English." 

Courci is in the arrondissement of Falaise, and I have 
just described its siege by Robert Court-heuse in 1091, 
at which time it was held by Richard de Courci, the 
companion of the Conqueror. He was the son of 
Robert de Courci, who was one of the six sons of 
Baldric the Teuton, or German, Lord of Bacqueville- 
en-Caux, and held the office of Archearius under Duke 
William. He married a niece of Gilbert Comte de 
-Brionne, grandson of Richard first Duke of Normandy, 
name unknown, by whom he had six sons and two 
daughters, and here we have an example of the diffi- 
culty the general reader would experience in endeavour- 
ing to form an idea of the family and connections of 
many important personages with whose names he in- 
cidentally meets in the popular histories of England. 
Robert, the third of these six sons, alone bore the name 
of De Courci : all the rest assumed surnames simi- 
larly derived from their particular properties or the 
place of their birth. The eldest, Nicholas, succeeding 


to his father's fief of Bacqueville-en-Caux, was thence 
called Nicholas de Bacqueville. The second son, Fulk, 
was named Fulk d'Aunou from his fief of Aunou le 
Faucon, arrondissement of Argentan. Richard, the 
fourth son, was the first of the famous name of Nevil, 
derived from his fief of Neuville-sur-Tocque, in the 
department of the Orne and the canton of Gacd. 
Baldric, fifth son, was surnamed de Balgenzais, from 
his fief of Bouquence or Bouquency. The youngest,. 
Vigerius or Wiger, was named after an uncle, and also 
called Apulensis, having been born, it is presumed, in 
Apulia. Who, meeting with the names of these noble 
and powerful Normans in their study of English his- 
tory, would, without such an explanation, suspect they 
were all sons of the same father, and cousins of- William 
the Conqueror on their mother's side ? Elizabeth, 
named after her aunt, who was a nun at St. Amand, 
married Fulk de Boneval ; and Hawise was the wife 
of Robert Fitz Erneis, who fought and fell at Senlac. 

It was Robert, the third son of Baldric the 
Teuton, as I have said, who assumed the name of De 
Courci from his inheritance of Courci-sur-Dive, and 
transmitted it to his immediate descendants. His son 
Richard married a lady named Guadelinodis, and was 
the Sire de Courci present at Hastings and Senlac. 
For his services he received from the Conqueror the 


barony of Stoke in the county of Somerset, and the 
manors of Newnham, Setenden, and Foxcote, in Oxford- 
shire. At least, he held them at the time of the great 

We hear no more of him during the reign of the 
elder William, though it is improbable he could have 
remained quiescent during all the commotions that 
were constantly convulsing the duchy ; but whether 
ne fought or not we may be satisfied that he remained 
loyal to the Conqueror, and to his successor William 
Eufus, whose opportune arrival in Normandy caused 
Robert Court-heuse and Robert de Belesme to raise the 
siege of Courci, as before related. 

Both he and his friend and neighbour Hugh de 
Grentmesnil, who was now connected with him by the 
marriage of their children, were considerably advanced 
in years, and lik,e Hugh, the Lord of Courci, may not 
have mingled in the melee ; but it is strange not to 
find Robert's name mentioned amongst the gallant 
defenders of his own property and that of his father- 

Besides this Robert, whose line was not of long en- 
durance, Richard had a second son named William, 
from whom descended the famous John de Courci, 
Earl of Ulster, and the present Lord Kingsale, who 
enjoys the enviable privilege of wearing his hat in the 


presence of his sovereign, traditionally granted by 
King John to the said Earl of Ulster in reward for the 
following service. 

Philip Augustus, King of France, having proposed 
to King John to settle the difference between the 
Crowns of England and France respecting their pre- 
tensions to the Duchy of Normandy by single combat, 
had appointed on his side a champion. King John, 
who had unwarily fixed the day, could find no one of 
sufficient strength -or prowess to oppose the Frenchman 
but the Earl of Ulster, who, at the instigation of Hugh 
de Lacy, had been dispossessed of .his estates, and was a 
prisoner in the Tower. Having accepted the challenge 
for the honour of his country, he appeared in the lists 
on the appointed day, and so terrified the French 
champion by his gigantic form and warlike demeanour 
that, on the third sounding of the trumpets, he wheeled 
about, broke through the lists, and galloping to the 
coast took ship for Spain, leaving De Courci victor 
without a blow. To gratify King Philip, who desired 
an exhibition of his extraordinary strength, the Earl 
directed a massive suit of mail surmounted by a 
helmet to be placed on a block, and at one stroke he 
cleft armour and helmet asunder, his sword entering 
so deep into the wood that no one present could pull 
it out with both hands, but he did in an instant with 


one. King John being well satisfied with his extra- 
ordinary service restored him to his titles and estates, 
and bade him ask besides anything it was in his 
power to grant, to which the Earl replied, that he had 
titles and estates enough, but desired that he and his 
successors, the heirs-male of his family, might have 
the privilege, their first obeisance being paid, to remain 
covered in the presence of him and his successors the 
Kings of England, which was granted accordingly. 
There is about as much truth in this story as there 
was in the one formerly told by the warders in the 
Tower of London, who were wont to show a remarkably 
large suit of plate armour of the time of Henry VIII. 
as being that of the very redoubtable John dc Courci 

The King of France, Philip Augustus, never set foot 
in England. William II., King of Scotland, never saw 
King John, save on the one occasion when he did 
homage to him at Lincoln. De Courci was never re- 
stored to his estates by John, and no one knows when 
a privilege, as worthless as it is unmannerly, was con- 
ferred, or by whom or on what authority it was first 
claimed and exercised. 

Almericus, the twenty-third Baron Kingsale, aston- 
ished King William III. by presenting himself with 
his hat on, but had the good taste to reverse the 


custom by remaining uncovered after the first assertion 
of his privilege. 

George II. good-humouredly observed to Gerald, 
cousin and successor of Almericus, that, although his 
lordship had a right to wear his hat before him, he 
had no right to do so before ladies. 

Let us trust that good sense and good taste will 
combine to abolish an absurd custom, for the observ- 
ance of which no credible authority can be produced 
no dignity lost by its discontinuance. 





THAT one or more of the family of Aubigny 
(Latinised into De Albinio, and better known in 
England as De Albini) " came over with the Con- 
queror/' and fought at Hastings, there can be no 
question ; but "Wace, who does not specify the 
individual, but simply calls him "li boteillier 
d'Aubignie," has been accused of an anachronism by 
Mr. Taylor, who considers the office of Pincerna, or 
butler, to have been first conferred upon the grand- 
son of William by Henry I. circa 1100, when for his 
services to that monarch he was enfeoffed of the 
barony of Buckenham to hold in grand-sergeantry by 
the butlery, an office now discharged at coronations 
by the Duke of Norfolk, his descendants possessing a 


part of the barony. The companion of the Conqueror 
he believes to have been William, the first of that name 
we know of, or his son Eoger, father of the second 
William] and Nigel de Albini, of whom we have pre- 
viously spoken (p. 30). 

M. le PreVost votes for Roger, who made a dona- 
tion to the Abbey of L'Essai in 1084. There is no 
reason why he should not also have been in the battle. 

In the absence of conclusive evidence I have headed 
this chapter with -William de Albini, the earliest 
known of that name, which he derived from the com- 
mune of Aubigny, near Periers, in the Cotentin, 
and with whom the family pedigree commences. 

This William married a sister of Grimoult du 
Plessis, the traitor of Valognes and Val-es-Dunes, who 
died in his dungeon in 1047 (vol. i., pp. 25 and 31), 
and Wace may after all be right in styling him " Le 
Botellier," as it is probable that he held that office in 
the household of the Duke of Normandy. By his wife, 
the sister of Grimoult (I have not yet lighted on her 
name), he had a son, the Roger d' Aubigny aforesaid, 
who married Amicia, or Avitia, sister of Geoffrey, 
Bishop of Coutances, and of Roger de Montbrai, and is 
supposed by M. le PreVost to have been with his 
brothers-in-law in the battle. 

Roger d' Aubigny, or De Albini, had issue by his 


wife Avitia de Montbrai, five sons : William, known 
as William de Albini " Pincerna" (i.e., Butler), ancestor 
of the Earls of Sussex, who married Maud, daughter 
of Eoger le Bigod, and died 1139. Richard, Abbot of 
St. Albans, Nigel, Humphrey, and Rualon, or Ralph. 
Nigel, the third son, was heir of Robert de Montbrai, 
or Mowbray, his first cousin, whose wife he married 
during the lifetime of her husband by licence of Pope 
Paschal, and for some time treated her with respect 
out of regard for her noble parents ; but on the death 
of her brother Gilbert de 1'Aigle, having no issue by 
her, he craftily sought for a divorce on the ground of 
that very kinship which he exerted so much influence 
to induce the Pope to overlook, and then married 
Gundred, daughter of Gerrard de Gournay, by whom 
he had Roger, who assumed the name of Mowbray, 
and transmitted it to his descendants, Dukes of Norfolk 
and Earls Marshal of England ; and Henri, ancestor 
of the line of Albini of Cainho. 

To return to the first William, it is clear that his 
grandsons were mere infants even if born in 1066, 
and therefore I believe that it was the William, then 
Pincerna, and probably also Roger, his son, who were 
companions of the Conqueror in his expedition ; 
Roger's eldest brother William being in disgrace in 
Normandy at the time, and not restored to favour, 


or allowed to enter England before the reign of 
Rufus, or it may have been Henry I. 

Of William de Albini, third son and successor of 
William II., and Maud le Bigod, a romantic story has 
been invented to account for the lion rampant subse- 
quently borne by his descendants. 

Having captivated the heart of the Queen Dowager 
of France by his gallant conduct in a tournament at 
Paris, she offered to marry him, an honour which he 
respectfully declined^ having already given his word 
and faith to a lady in England, another Queen 
Dowager, no less a personage than Adeliza, widow of 
King Henry I. of England. His refusal so angered the 
French Queen, that she laid a plot with her attendants 
to destroy him by inducing him to enter a cave in her 
garden, where a lion had been placed for that pur- 
pose ; but the undaunted Earl, rolling his mantle round 
his arm, thrust his hand into the lion's mouth, tore 
out its tongue, and sent it to the Queen by one of her 
maids. " In token of which noble and valiant 
act," says Brooke, in his " Catalogue of Nobility," 
"this William assumed to bear for his arms a lion 
gold in a field gules, which his successors ever since 

As this third William de Albini died as late as 
1176, it is possible he might have, assumed armorial 


bearings, but the lion was more probably first borne 
by his son, the second Earl of Arundel of the line of 
Aubigny, in token of his descent from Adeliza, widow 
of Henry I., in whose reign we have the earliest evi- 
dence of golden lions being adopted as a personal 
decoration, if not strictly an heraldic bearing. 


Here again is a memorable personage of whose 
origin and family little is known. Wace mentions 
him as " Guillaume ki Ten dit Mallet," but why so 
called has not even been guessed at. Geoffrey, Count 
of Anjou, is popularly said to have received his name 
of Martel from the horseman's hammer, which is 
assumed to have been his favourite weapon ; but this, 
like many such stories, is unsupported by any sub- 
stantial evidence, and is contested by the French 
antiquary, M. de la Mairie, who asserts that Martel is 
simply another form of Martin, and the well-known 
charge in heraldry, Martlet, Martelette, or little 
Martin, or Swallow, appears to corroborate that asser- 
tion. Therefore, although the "maillet," a two- 
headed hammer, was as early known to the Normans 
as the "martel de fer,"* if, indeed, it were not the 

* " L'un tient une 6pee sans fourre, 

L'autre une maillet, 1'autre une hache." 

Guiart. , y. 6635. 


same weapon, I have no belief in such a derivation, 
the name being, moreover, borne by the whole family. 
Whether the companion of the Conqueror was the 
first so called is unknown. Le Provost simply says 
he was the source of a noble race still existing in 
France, that of Malet de Graville. 

The author of " Carmen de Bello " tells us he was 
partly Norman and partly English, and "Compater 
Heraldi," which would seem to signify joint sponsor 
with Harold, compere, as the French have it (vide 
Ducange in voce). 

It would be interesting to discover whose child 
they stood godfathers to, and why we find him in the 
ranks of his fellow-gossip;* the knowledge of that 
fact might reveal to us many others. Was it in 
England or in Normandy that he stood at the font 
with Harold ? If in the latter, it must have been in 
1062, during the enforced visit of Godwin's son to 
Duke William, the year in which Adela was born. 
Is it possible that Harold and William Malet were her 
godfathers ? Guy, of Amiens, Matilda's almoner , 
would certainly be cognizant of that fact. 

His name, however, is not met with, I believe, 

* From the Saxon God-syb, a relation in God. There was formerly 
a spiritual kinship supposed to exist between a child and its sponsors 
expressed by the word gossiprede. 


either in Saxon or Norman annals previous to the 
invasion, when we hear of his valour and his peril. 
" Guillaume, whom they call Mallet, also threw him- 
self boldly into the midst. With his naming sword 
he terrified the English. But they pierced his shield 
and killed his horse, and he would have been slain 
himself, when the Sire de Montfort and William de 
Vez-Pont (Vieuxpont) came up with a strong force, 
and gallantly rescued him, though with the loss of 
many of their men, and mounted him on a fresh 
horse" (Roman de Rou, 1. 13,472-85). 

We next hear of him as the person appointed by 
the Conqueror to take charge of the body of Harold, 
which had been discovered by the swan-necked 
Eadgyth, and to bury it on the sea-shore ; his 
selection for that purpose would seem to have some 
connection with the curious statement of Bishop 
Guy, as from his previous knowledge of the Saxon 
King, and the spiritual brotherhood which is said to 
have existed between them, he may have been con- 
sidered by William to have the best claim to the 
melancholy honour after the mother, to whom it had 
been sternly refused. 

After this we find him mentioned as accompanying 
the newly-seated sovereign in his expedition to the 
North, and the reduction of Nottingham and York 


(1068), in which year Mulct was rewarded with the 
shrievalty of Yorkshire, and large grants of land in 
the county. He was in York the following year, and 
governor of the castle (newly built by the Conqueror) 
when it was besieged by the Northumbrians, led by 
the Saxon prince Edgar. The citizens having joined 
the insurgents, William Malet, sorely pressed, sent to 
the King for assistance, without which he assured 
him he should be compelled to surrender. The King 
arrived with a powerful force in time to raise the 
siege and take fearful vengeance on the besiegers, 
as well as on the city and its inhabitants. Again, 
with Gilbert de Ghent he was in command in 
York when the Danes assaulted it in 1069 arid in con- 
junction with the Earls Waltheof and Gospatric burnt 
the city, slew three thousand Normans, and took 
prisoners Gilbert de Ghent and William Malet, with 
his wife and two of their children. 

How long he remained in captivity does not appear, 
nor where or at what time or under what circum- 
stances he died. Lucia, widow of Koger Fitz Gerald, 
and subsequently Countess of Chester, is stated, in a 
grant of King Henry IL, to have been niece of Robert 
Malet and of Alan of Lincoln ; and this Robert is 
said to have been the son of a William Malet, slain 
in 1069. the period at which our William Malet was 



taken prisoner at York. Another William Malet, set 
down as the son of Hesilia Crispin, died an old man 
in the Abbey of Bee ; but there is no identifying either 
with the companion of the Conqueror, though each 
has a claim to the distinction, for our William, the 
sheriff of Yorkshire and compere of Harold, certainly 
had a son and heir named Robert, and a sister of 
William Crispin, named Hesilia, is variously asserted 
to have been the mother or wife of the William Malet 
who fought at Senlac. 

He was a witness to a charter of King William to 
the Church of St. Martin-le-Grand in London, and is 
therein styled " Princeps." He also gave Conteville 
in Normandy to the Abbey of Bee,* which indicates 
some connection with Herluin and Herleve. How came 
he possessed of Conteville ? We know r that Herluin 
had been previously married, and had by his first wife 
a son named Ralf. Was that first wife an English- 
woman, and had she a second son named William, 
heir eventually to Conteville ? Glover, in his invalu- 
able collections, has jotted down the subscribing 
witnesses to a charter by a Gilbert Malet, who styles 
himself "Dapifer Regis," and we find amongst them 
William Malet, his heir "hserede meo," Robert, and 

* "De dono Gulielmi Malet manerium de Conteville cum ecclesia 
et omnibus ejusdem ecclesise et manerii pertinentiis suis" (Neustria 
Pia, p. 484). 


Kalph, brothers of William, and another William, 
grandson or nephew of the grantor (" nepote meo "). 
Unfortunately it is without date ; but I am inclined 
to consider Gilbert a brother of the sheriff, and the 
William he calls his nephew, the youngest of the 
two sons of the sheriff, who were taken prisoners with 
him at York ; the other being Robert, who succeeded 
him, obtained the honour of Eye in Suffolk, and 
at the compilation of Domesday was found to 
possess two hundred and sixty-eight manors in 
England, Eye being the chief. His father was then 
dead, and that is all we at present know for a cer- 
tainty. If not slain in 1069, he might well be the 
old man who died in the Abbey of Bee, to which he 
was a benefactor, for we have no means of guessing 
his [age at the time of the invasion. The smallest 
contribution to his history would be gratefully 


The combatant at Senlac who with the Sire de 
Montfort saved the life of William Malet, as described 
in the preceding memoir, is named by Wace, who 
records the incident, " William." M. le PreVost says, 
authoritatively, that it was Robert de Vieuxpont, and 
he is followed by Mr. Taylor, who produces no evidence 

H 2 


in corroboration of the assertion of the learned 
antiquary whose opinion he has adopted, and which 
appears to have been formed not upon any contempo- 
rary documents, but from the simple fact of a Eobert 
de Vieuxpont, or Vipount, as it became anglicised, 
having been sent in 1073 to Normandy, to the assist- 
ance of Jean de la Fleche, as stated by Orderic (lib. iv. 
cap. 13) ; but the existence of a Eobert de Vieuxpont 
in 1073 does not convince me that there was not a 
William, lord of Vieuxpont, at Hastings in 1 066. Wace, 
it is true, cannot be implicitly depended upon for the 
baptismal names of the personages he mentions as 
taking part in the great battle ; and M. le Prevost 
has in two or three instances made some valuable 
corrections of his text on good and sufficient authority ; 
but in this case he cites none in support of his assertion, 
and therefore, with great respect for his opinion, I 
venture to differ from him and accept Wace's account, 
which is uncontradicted by anything within my know- 
ledge, and has great probability in its favour. 

William and Eobert were favourite names in the 
family, supposed to have its origin in Vieuxpont-en- 
Ange, in the arrondissement of Lisieux ; and in 1131 
there was a William de Vipount, apparently a son of 
the Eobert aforesaid, who claimed certain lands in 
Devonshire, and agreed that his right to them should 


be determined by a trial by battle. A Robert de 
Vieuxpont, probably his brother, was with the Cru- 
saders at Sardonas, near Antioch, in 1 1 1 1 ; and in the 
4th of John (1203) we have another William obtaining 
the King's precept to the Steward of Normandy, to 
have a full possession of the lordship of Vipount in 
that duchy, as Robert de Vipount, his brother, had 
when he went into France after the war. 

All these Williams and Roberts are mixed up to- 
gether by Dugdale. in the most inextricable confusion. 
It is not my duty here to attempt the task of identi- 
fying and affiliating them, and they are only men- 
tioned in order to explain my reason for believing 
that the first Robert we hear of had a brother or per- 
haps a father named William, who was the companion 
of the Conqueror mentioned by Wace, a belief which 
does not preclude the possibility of Robert's presence 
at Hastings also. 

As we hear no more of William after his rescue of 
William Malet, it is probable that he died previous to 
1073, and may indeed have been killed at Senlac ; for 
it is a singular fact that only three Normans of note 
are named as having faUen in that battle, although 
hundreds must have done so. That we have no list 
of the killed and wounded in the Saxon army is not 
surprising, but that none of the Norman writers should 


have thought fit to perpetuate the memories of the 
noble and gallant knights who perished in that me- 
morable conflict is to me most surprising. 

The first Robert is said by Orderic to have been 
killed at the siege of St. Suzanne in 1085 ; but M. le 
Prevost quotes a charter of Henry I. in favour of 
the Abbey of St. Pierre-sur-Dive, which records his 
having become a monk in that house. 

We hear nothing of the wives of the first Vipounts, 
nor by what means they became possessed of the lands 
they held in England, but great accessions of honours 
and estates^were acquired in the reign of King John 
by a Robert de Vipount, w T ho~was high in favour with 
that sovereign, and had custody of the unfortunate 
Prince Arthur, taken prisoner in the battle of Miravelt, 
for his services in which Robert had a grant from 
the King of the castle and barony of Appleby; and, 
adhering strictly to John during the whole of his 
reign, is ranked by Matthew Paris, with a brother 
named Ivo, amongst the King's wicked counsellors. 

This Robert's mother we find was Maude, daughter 
of Hugh de Moreville, of Kirk Anvald, county Cum- 
berland, who gave divers lands in Westmoreland to 
the Abbey of Shap, but of which previous Robert or 
William she was the wife does not appear. Her son, 
the favourite of King John married Idonea, daughter 


of John de Builly, lord of the honor of Tickhill, of 
which, with all the lands and chattels of his father-in- 
law, he had livery in 1114, and died in 1228 (12th of 
Henry III.), being then notwithstanding his great 
revenues, the wealth he had amassed by rapine and 
plunder during the civil wars, and the emoluments 
derived from the various offices he held, amongst 
others those of a justice itinerant in the county of York 
and one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas 
indebted to the King in the sum of 1997Z. 11 s. 6d., 
besides five great horses of price for five tuns of wine, 
which debt was not paid off many years after. 

The male line of these Vipounts terminated in the 
grandson of this Robert, who was slain, as it would 
seem, in the battle of Evesham, on the side of the 
rebellious barons under Simon de Montfort, A.D. 1261, 
when his lands were seized by the King, but were sub- 
sequently restored to his two daughters and co-heirs, 
Isabella and Idonea; the former of whom married Roger 
de Clifford and the latter Roger de Leybourne, after 
whose death she re-married with John de Cromwell. 
Through the match with Clifford the Castle of Appleby 
and other estates in Westmoreland and Cumberland 
passed into the family of the Tuftons, Earls of Thanet, 
and are at present in the possession of Sir Henry 
Tufton, Bart. 



We have already heard of a Kaoul Taisson, Lord of 
Cingueleiz, at the battle of Val-es-Dunes in 1047 ; 
descended, it is supposed, from the Counts of Anjou, 
and the founder of the Abbey of Fontenay. Three 
Lords of Cingueleiz were so named in succession 
during the time of the Conqueror. ' The " Eaol 
Teisson " mentioned by Wace as present at Hastings, 
is presumed to have been the second, and the son of 
the combatant at Val-es-Dunes. 

The name of " Kodulfi Taisson," the father, is 
appended to the foundation charter of the Priory of 
Sigi by Hugh de Gournay before 1035, the other 
witnesses being Neel the Viscount, Geoffrey the 
Viscount, William the Count, son of the glorious 
Robert, Duke of the Normans, and William, " Magistri 
Comitis," whoever he may be. After Val-es-Dunes we 
find him summoned by the Duke to his aid on the 
invasion of the French in 1054. He is not named in 
any account of the battle of Mortemer, and was there- 
fore most probably with the Duke himself. 

His son, Raoul Taisson II., followed him to Hastings. 


He is presumed to have been killed in the battle, as no 
more is known about him, nor of any of his descend- 
ants in England, although for some time nourishing 


in Normandy, and M. le Prevost speaks of an opu- 
lent family existing in France, which claims a descent 
from the Norman Lords of Cingucleiz. 

This Raoul Taisson, the second of the name, married 
Matilda, daughter of Walter the uncle of King 
William, who had so carefully watched over his child- 
hood. Both she and her father are subscribing wit- 
nesses to the foundation charter of the Abbey of 
Fontenay, the lady describing herself most explicitly 
as " Mathildis filia Gualteri avunculo Gulielmi Regis 
Anglorum." She was, therefore, a first cousin of 
the Conqueror ; but what was the worldly estate of 
her father Walter does not appear, nor who was the 
mother of the said Matilda. By her, however, Raoul 
had a son Jordan and a daughter Letitia,* in whose 
fortunes we are less interested than in those of their 
mother and grandfather, some knowledge of which 
would be invaluable as illustrating a branch of the 
Conqueror's family which has been singularly 
neglected by chroniclers and genealogists botk past 
and present, the few facts discovered by the late 
Mr. Stapleton only whetting our appetite for more. 

From the period of the accession of the boy William 

* Jordan Taisson married one of the daughters of the last Neil de 
St. Sauveur (Hardy's Rot. Nona. 16) ; her name, according to M. de 
Gerville, was Letitia. 


to that of the foundation of the Abbey of Fontenay, 
we hear nothing of uncle Walter but what his dying 
nephew relates respecting his care of him when a 

The marriage of his daughter Matilda with so im- 
portant and wealthy a person as Raoul Taisson, Sire de 
Cingueleiz, indicates that Walter held some rank and 
possessions in Normandy at that period, although they 
have never been specified. 

Who was Walter de Falaise, father of an un- 
doubted companion of the Conqueror, of whom I will 
next speak in order to continue this inquiry ; namely, 


William, Lord of Moulins-la-Marche, arrondissement 
of Mortagne, is mentioned by Wace as one of the 
combatants at Senlac 

" E dam Willame des Molins " (Rvm. de Rou, 1. 13,565) ; 

but neither Le Prevost nor Taylor enlightens us as to 
his pedigree, the latter merely describing him as the 
son of Walter of Falaise, as we already knew from 
Orderic, who is silent respecting the family of his 
father and his mother. In the absence of any infor- 
mation on the subject, I am strongly inclined to 
believe that this Walter of Falaise was the Walter 
son of Fulbert the burgess of Falaise, brother of 


Herleve and uncle of William the Conqueror, who 
with his daughter Matilda, wife of Raoul Taisson, wit- 
nessed the foundation charter of Fontenay as already 

The title of De Moulins, borne by the son of Walter 
de Falaise, was obtained by him through his marriage 
with Alberede or Albrede, daughter and heir of a 
certain Guitmund, whose hand was bestowed by the 
Conqueror on William, with the whole of her father's 
fief of Molines, in reward of his services either at 
Senlac or elsewhere, he being, as Orderic informs us, 
" a gallant soldier." 

In conjunction with his wife Alberede he was a 
great benefactor to the Abbey of St. Evroult, bestow- 
ing on it the Church of Mahern, with the titles and all 
the priest's lands and the cemetery belonging to it, 
the Church of St. Lawrence in the town of Moulines, 
and his demesne land near the castle, and the Church 
of Bonmoulines, with all the tithes of corn, the mill, 
and the oven. 

In 1073 he was sent by King William, in company 
with William de Vieuxpont and other brave knights, 
to the assistance of John de la Fleche against Fulk le 
Rechin (the Quarreller), Count of Anjou, and his ally, 
Hoel V., Duke of Brittany, following himself with a 
large army ; but serious hostilities were prevented by 


a mediation which terminated in the Peace of Blanch e- 
lande (vol. i., p. 198). 

After Albrcda had borne him two sons, William and 
Robert, it appears he divorced her on the plea of con- 
sanguinity. This may afford us some clue to the 
desired information. 

William married secondly Duda, daughter of Wal- 
cran de Meulent, by whom also he had two sons, Simon 
and Hugh, who were both cut off by a cruel death, 
Orderic informs us, leaving no issue.* The divorced 
Albreda ended her days in a nunnery. 

The same author, describing William de Moulines, 
says " he was too fond of vain and empty glory, in 
pursuit of which he was guilty of indiscriminate 
slaughter. It is reported that he shed much blood, 
and that his ferocity was so great that every blow he 
dealt was fatal. Through prosperity and adversity he 
lived to grow old, and, so far as this world is concerned, 
passed his days in honour. Dying at length in his 
own castle, he was buried in the chapter-house of 
St. Evroult." 

His son and successor, Robert, fell under the dis- 
pleasure of Henry I., was banished, and with his wife 
Agnes, daughter of Robert de Grentmesnil, went to 
Apulia, where he died ; his brother Simon succeeded 

* Hugh was drowned in the wreck of " the White Ship." 


to his inheritance, and with his wife Adeline ,con- 
firmed all the gifts of his family to St. Evroult. He 
was probably personally known to Orderic, who evi- 
dently knew more of Guitmond and his sons-in-law 
than he has unfortunately thought it necessary to 


" Le viel Hue de Gournai " may well have de- 
served that venerable distinction in the year 1066, 
since the same writer has bestowed it upon him in 
1054, when he was one of the commanders in the 
sanguinary battle of Mortemer (vide vol. i., p. 234), and 
is even then spoken of as " De Gornai le viel Huon." 
Moreover, he is presumed by M. de Gondeville, the 
historian of the family, to be identical with the " Hugo 
Miles " who authorised the gift of the land of Calvel- 
ville to the Abbey of Montvilliers by William the 
Count, son of Robert Duke of Normandy, which he 
considers must have been before the death of Robert 
in 1035. Allowing, however, that he was of full age 
as early even as 1030, though children scarcely in 
their teens were accustomed to witness charters when 
they had a contingent interest in the property be- 
stowed, still, admitting he was one-and-twenty at 
that date, he would not have been sixty at the time of 


the Conquest, and though fairly to be described as an 
old man, the term " le viel " may be held to signify 
simply " the senior," as it appears that there were 
three of the family of Gournay present at Hastings, 
viz., Hue de Gournay, the Sire de Brai le Comte, and 
the Seigneur de Gournay. 

Hugh de Gournay, the second of that name, would 
be the Seigneur de Gournay at that period, and Hue 
de Gournay his son the third of the name, who 
married Basilia, daughter of Gerrard Flaitel, sister of 
the wife of "Walter Giffard, 1st Earl of Buckingham, 
and widow of Kaoul de Gacd Hugh, his father, 
Seigneur de Gournay, is described by Wace as being 
accompanied at Senlac by a strong force of his men of 
Brai, and doing much execution on the English. 

He is said by the Norman chroniclers to have been 
mortally wounded in a battle at Cardiff in 1074, and 
carried to Normandy, where he died. There is, 
however, considerable doubt about their account of 
this battle, as it is clear that several persons said to 
have been engaged or slain in it were either deceased 
long prior to it, or could not possibly have been 
present ; but more of that anon. 

The first of the family of Gournay is presumed to 
have been a follower of Kalf or Kollo, to whom, after 
the settlement of the Norsemen in Neustria, was 


allotted part of the district of Le Brai, the principal 
places in which were Gournay, La Ferte', Lions, Charle- 
val, and Fleury. 

La Fert^ was assigned to a younger branch of the 
house of Gournay before the Conquest. Hugh, the son 
of Eudes, is reported to have been the first to make 
Gournay a place of strength. The ancient records of 
the family ascribe to him the erection of a citadel 
surrounded by a triple wall and fosse, and further 
secured by a tower named after him, " La Tour Hue," 
which was standing as late as the beginning of the 
17th century. Such was the reputed strength of 
this fortress that a rhyming chronicler (William de 
Brito) declares it was able to resist a hostile attack 
undefended by a single soldier. A description magni- 
ficent enough to take rank amongst the most amusing 
exaggerations of our transatlantic brethren. 

Hugh was succeeded by a Renaud de Gournay, the 
first of the family mentioned in any charter, who by 
his wife Alberada had two sons, Hugh and Gautier, 
the elder becoming Lord of Gournay, and the younger 
of La Fertd-en-Brai, of which he founded the Priory 
circa 990, by command or request of his brother 
Hugh, and for the health of the souls of Renaud and 
Alberada, their father and mother. 

This division of the great fief was according to a 


Norman custom called Paragium, from the younger 
son being put " pari conditione " with the elder. The 
old " Coutume de Normandie " gives this definition of 
it : "La tenure par parage est quand cil qui tient et 
cil de qui il tient sont pers es parties de 1'heritages qui 
descend de leurs ancesseurs." The younger son in 
such case was not the feudal vassal of the elder, but 
held his portion of the fief by equal tenure, the elder, 
however, doing homage to the over-lord for the whole 
fief to the seventh generation, when all affinity was 
supposed to cease. 

I have made this little digression, because I consider 
such explanations of ancient customs most important 
to readers of history, as accounting for acts and 
circumstances otherwise inexplicable or liable to mis- 
interpretation and confusion, as in the instance I have 
already pointed out in my notice of Aimeri de Thouars 
(vol. i., p. 242). 

Hugh II., Seigneur de Gournay, most probably the 
son of the former Hugh, is the personage I have 
already mentioned as believed to be " the -old Hue " 
of Wace's Chronicle, and the Hugo Miles who autho- 
rised the gift of the land of Calvelville to the Abbey 
of Montvilliers by William while Count of the 

Mr. Daniel Gurney, in the first volume of his sump- 


tuous work, " The Record of the House of Gournay," 
remarks in his notice of this charter that Calvelville, it 
seems likely, is the modern Conteville, so called from 
this donation by William the Count. If there were 
any facts to be adduced in support of this otherwise 
mere fancy, they would be very important, inasmuch 
as they would enlighten us respecting the parentage 
and position of Herluin de Conteville, whose name has 
been preserved to us from the accident of his being 
" le mari de sa femme." Beatrice, Abbess of Mont- 
villiers, was aunt to Robert Duke of Normandy, 
William's father, and William Malet, as we have 
seen, had power to give Conteville to the Abbey of 

This second Hugh was one of the Norman leaders 
of the fleet of forty ships which accompanied Edward 
the Saxon Prince, son of King Ethelred, to England 
in 1035, when, on the death of Knute, he made an 
attempt to recover the kingdom. The expedition 
sailed from Barfleur, and landed at Southampton, but 
was ill recaived by the English, who had espoused the 
cause of Harold Harefoot. Edward, seeing the dis- 
position of the country, returned with his fleet to 
Barfleur, more fortunate than his brother Alfred, who, 
at the same time making a descent on Dover, was 
taken prisoner by Earl Godwin, confined in the 



Monastery of Ely, had his eyes put out, and died 
shortly afterwards. 

Subsequently we find Hugh de Gournay, one of the 
victors in the battle of Mortemer, A.D. 1054, and 
finally at Hastings in 1066, in company with his son 
Hugh, and his relative, the " Sire de Brai," a title by 
which the latter Hugh was distinguished in some 
rolls, and may in this instance have been appropriated 
to his son Gerrard. I have already alluded to the 
reported death of the elder Hugh from wounds 
received in the mysterious battle of Cardiff, A.D. 1074, 
and will give my reasons for discrediting that account. 
By Monsieur le Prevost he is said to have become a 
monk at Bee ; but it is suggested that the Hugh de 
Gournay recorded to have done so, was his son 
Hugh, third husband of Basilia Flaitel, who also 
retired from the world, and ended her days there, 
together with her niece Anfride, and Eva, wife of 
William Crispin. 

The Sire de la Ferte mentioned by Wace (Rom. de 
Ron, 1. 13,710) was not one of the Gournay family, the 
last of that branch, lords of La Ferte-en-Bray, having 
died without issue a monk in the Abbey of St. Ouen 
at Eouen previous to the invasion. 

And now for a word or two about the battle of 
Cardiff. Mr. Daniel Gurney had his attention drawn to 


this subject by the inclusion of the name of Hugh de 
Gournay amongst the personages connected with it, 
and following a French account in "L'Histoire et 
Chronique de Normandie," printed at Rouen by 
Megissier in 1610, he very naturally questioned the 
fact of there ever having been such a battle at Cardiff 
at all. 

Having had occasion to examine this subject upon 
other grounds some years ago, I went deeper into it 
than my amiable friend had done, and believe I dis- 
covered a substratum of truth on which a story irre- 
concilable with established facts had been constructed. 

The Norman Chronicle describes the battle as 
having occurred in 1074, during the lifetime of the 
Conqueror, and states that the Danes were met by 
" Guilhaume le fils Auber " (who was slain in Flanders 
in 1071), Guilhaume le Roux, the King's son (at that 
time a boy of fourteen), Roger de Montgomeri, Hue 
de Mortemer, and the Comte de Vennes ; that the 
Normans were victorious, but suffered great loss. 
That " Guilhaume le Roux was taken prisoner ; " that 
"Arnoult de Harcourt," "Roger de Montgomeri," 
" Neil le Vicomte," " Guilhaume le fils Auber," and 
many others were killed and buried on the spot, and 
" Hue de Gournay " and the " Comte d'Evreux " were 
carried, desperately wounded, into Normandy, where 

I 2 


they died soon afterwards ; winding up with the infor- 
mation that Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and the Comte 
de Vennes retired after the battle with the remainder 
of their forces to Caerleon. 

That this account is a jumble of two or three 
separate actions is evident from the names introduced 
in it. The Comte de Vennes was Count Brian of 
Brittany, who defeated the two sons of Harold and 
their Irish allies in 1069. Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, 
was in arms against the Earls of Norfolk and Here- 
ford in 1074, and the battle of Cardiff, according to 
the Welsh Chronicler, was fought some twenty years 
later, when " Guilhaume le Eoux " was king, and had 
been lying sick at Gloucester. 

In Dr. Powell's continuation of Humphrey Lloyd's 
description of Wales, translated from the Welsh, and 
published in 1584, it is recorded under the date of 
1094 : "About this time Roger Montgomery, Earl of 
Salop and Arundell, William Fitz-Eustace, Earl of 
Gloucester, Arnold de Harcourt and Neale le Vicount 
were slain between Cardiff and Brecknock by the 
Welshmen ; also Walter Evereux, Earl of Sarum, 
and Hugh Earl Gourney were there hurt, and died 
after in Normandy" 

That the French account is a garbled version of the 
above is obvious on comparison of the names and 


words I have put in italics with those in the 
"Chronique de Normandie," where they are almost 
literally translated ; but William Fitz Eustace trans- 
formed into William Fitz Osbern, and Walter Evreux 
into the Comte d' Evreux. 

Mr. Gurney, who appears not to have known of 
this curious record, sufHcicutly demolished the French 
account by comparing the dates of the deaths of the 
combatants with that given of the battle, and a 
similar test applied to the Welsh one elicits the im- 
portant fact, that of the three well-known individuals 
who are named as having fallen in the battle of 
Cardiff, or died in Normandy from the wounds they 
received in it, nothing whatever is recorded which can 
fairly be said to invalidate the statement. None are 
known to have survived that period, and their deaths 
arc not accounted for in any other manner. 

Roger de Montgomeri, the most important person 
of the group, was, as I have already shown, buried 
at that precise date, the cause of death not being 

Monsieur de Gerville in his notice of the Lords of 
Nehou mentions the report that Neel Vicomte de 
Saint-Sauveur was killed at Cardiff in 1074, but 
corrects the date, and says he died in 1092, and 
that Geoffrey de Mowbray buried him at Coutances, 


confounding him with his successor. As for Hugh 
de Gournay, in whom at this moment we are more 
specially interested, the last we hear of him is that he 
became a monk in Normandy, where he died some 
time after 1085 ; but nothing is positively known 
how long after, or what was the cause of his death, 
and the assertion that he " was hurt " at Cardiff, 
" and died after in Normandy," is quite reconcilable 
with the fact, if it be one, that he became a monk 
there, as it was a common practice in those days for a 
warrior to assume the monastic habit even in articulo 
mortis ; and the same observation applies to Roger de 
Montgomeri, who died a monk at Shrewsbury in 

Of Arnould de Harcourt, named in both accounts, 
I have found nothing to affect the question either 
way, and we have therefore only Walter Evreux, 
Earl of Sarum, and William Fitz Eustace, Earl of 
Gloucester, to dispose of. 

That there is evidence of the existence of a William 
Fitz Eustace, probably a son of Eustace, Count of 
Boulogne, I demonstrated some years ago at 
Cirencester.* That there ever was a Walter 

* Vide William of Tyre. Bohcmond, Prince of Antioch, in a letter 
to his brother Eoger, mentions another son of Eustace named Hugo. 
Sir H. Ellis, in his Introduction to Domesday, also mentions a charter 
of William, the son of Eustace, in the British Museum. 


Evreux, Earl of Sarum, is still an open question, 
which I am not warranted in discussing here. We 
know Hugh was not Earl of Gournay ; but that does 
not destroy his identity. In the absence of any posi- 
tive authority, the simple statement of the Welsh 
Chronicler, uncontradicted in any important point, and 
throwing a light upon several obscure points of his- 
tory and biography, deserves respectful consideration. 
Although recorded under the year 1094, it does not 
fix the precise date of the battle. The words are 
" about this time!' There is nothing, therefore, to 
prevent our considering it to have been fought in 
1092, or before March, 1093, which would reconcile 
every apparent discrepancy. 





THIS ancestor of the first Earls of Somerset is named 
by AVace amongst the Norman barons at Senlac, but 
simply as " le Viel Willame cle Moion " (Rom. de Rou, 
1. 13,620). Deriving his name from a vill three 
leagues south of St. L6, where the remains of the 
castle were recently to be seen, all we learn of him 
from the rhyming chronicler is that he had with him 
many companions, " ont avec li maint compagnon ; " 
but if we were to give any credit to a list handed down 
to us by Leland (" Collectanea de Rebus Britannicis," 
Ed. Hearne, vol. i., p. 202), he had a following worthy 
of an emperor, and deserved the description bestowed 
upon him by the writer, viz., " le plus noble de tout 
1'oste." This William de Moion, he tells us, had in his 
train all the great lords following, as it is written in 


the book of the Conquerors. " To wit : Eaoul Taisson 
dc Cingueleiz, Roger Marmion le Viel, Monsieur Nel 
de Sein Saviour, Raoul de Gail, who was a Breton, 
Avenel de Giars, Hubert Paignel, Robert Ber- 
thram, Raol the Archer de Va 1 , and the Sire de Bricoil, 
the Sires de Sole and de Sereval, the Sires de St. Jean 
and de Breal, the Sire de Breus and two hundred of his 
men, the Sires de St. Sen and the Sires de Cuallic, the 
Sires de Cenullie and the Sire de Basqueville, the Sires 
de Praels and the Sires de Souiz, the Sires de Saiiitels 
and the Sires de Vieutz Moley, the Sires de Monceals 
and the Sires de Pacie, the seneschals of Corcye and 
the Sires de Lacye, the Sires de Gacre and the Sires de 
Soillie, the Sires de Sacre, the Sires de Vaacre, the Sires 
de Torneor, and the Sires de Praerers, William de 
Columbieres and Gilbert Dasmeres le Veil, the Sires 
of Chaaiones, the Sires of Coismicrcs le Veil, Hugh de 
Bullebek, Richard Orbec, the Sires of Bonesboz and 
the Sires de Sap, the Sires de Gloz and the Sires de 
Tregoz, the Sires de Monfichet and Hugh Bigot, the 
Sires de Vitrie and the Sires Durmie, the Sires de 
Moubrai and the Sires de Saie, the Sires de la Fert and 
the Sire Boteuilam, the Sire Troselet and William 
Patrick de la Lande, Monsieur Hugh de Mortimer and 
the Sires Damyler, the Sires de Dunebek and the 
Sires de St. Clere and Robert Fitz-Herveis, who was 


killed in the battle." And this astounding catalogue 
is wound up by the repeated assurance that " all the 
above-named seigneurs were in the retinue of Monsier 
de Moion as aforesaid." 

I have copied the list in order that whoever pleases 
may satisfy himself, as I have done, respecting its 
origin. It is in fact nothing more nor less than 
a copy of all the names mentioned in the "Roman 
de Rou," from line 13,621 to line 13,761, just as they 
follow each other in the poem ; and the assertion that 
all these noble Normans were "a la retennaunce de 
Monsier Moion/' resulted from the curious blunder 
of the copyist, who considered the lines 

" Le Viel Willame de Moion 
Ont avec li maint compagnon," 

had reference to the knights and barons named imme- 
diately afterwards, all of whom he pressed into the 
service, and would no doubt have included half the 
army if an unmistakable full stop and change of 
subject had not pulled him up short with the death of 
Robert Fitz Erneis, which he writes incorrectly 
Herveis. This expose' is necessary to prevent any 
one from imagining that this list is extracted from 
some independent authority. "Le livre des Con- 
querors " turns out to be " Le Roman de Rou." 
The services of " Monsier de Moion " were, however, 


sufficiently appreciated to obtain for him the grant 
of the lordships of Clchangre, in the county of 
Devon, and Button, in the county of Wilts, with 
fifty-five others in the county of Somerset ; Dunster 
Castle being apparently his caput baronise and prin- 
cipal residence, near which he founded a priory and 
made it a cell to that at Bath, giving to it the Church 
of St. George in Dunster, as also the lordship of 
Alcombe, with the tithes of all his vineyards and 
arable lauds at Dunster and Karampton. 

Of his age at the time of the Conquest we have no 
means of judging. As I have previously remarked, 
the epithet " le Viel" may simply signify " the elder," 
and not imply " old " in the fullest sense of the word. 

Writing in the time of his sou, Wace would natu- 
rally so distinguish him. We do so in similar cases 
in the present day. He appears to have survived the 
Conqueror, and was buried in the Priory of Bath. Of 
his parentage we are equally ignorant. For all I 
know, he may have been descended from one of the 
same family as Kaoul, surnamed Mouin, the reported 
assassin of Robert, the Conqueror's father; for the 
name is spelt indifferently Moion, Moun, and Moyne. 

By his wife, whoever she may have been, he had a 
son named after him ; and his son, a third William, 
was the first Earl of Somerset. In his foundation 


charter of the priory at Bruton he distinctly calls 
himself "Willielmus cle Moyne, comes Somerset- 
ensis." From the time of the Conquest to that of 
this Earl, history is silent respecting the deeds of the 
De Mohuns. 


There are some doubts as to whom Wace alludes as 
" le Sire de la Haie," whom he describes as charging 
impetuously at Senlac, neither sparing nor pitying 
any, dealing death on all he encountered, inflicting 
wounds which no skill could cure. 

Eudo, or, as Wace calls him in a previous portion 
of his Eoman, Iwun al Chapel, was the eldest son 
of Turstain Haldub (Halduc, and Haralduc as it 
is indifferently written) by Emma or Anna his wife, 
and subscribes himself " Eudo Haldub " in a charter 
A.D. 1074. At the time of the Conquest he was head 
of the house of Haie-du-Puits, in the Cotentin, 
near the Abbey of 1'Essay, founded by Turstain (also 
called Richard) his father. 

Eudo married Muriel, a daughter of Heiiuin de 
Conteville and Herleve, and sister of the half blood 
to the Conqueror, who we have seen summoned him 
to attend the family council held previous to the 
general assembly at Lillebonne in 1066, together with 


Eudo's brothers-in-law, Bishop Oclo and Robert Comte 
de Mortain (vol. i., p. 51). It can scarcely be doubted, 
therefore, that he accompanied them to England, and 
was present in the battle. Mr. Taylor inclines to the 
opinion of M. le Prevost, that the Sire de la Haie of 
AVace was Ralph de la Haie, seneschal at that period 
to Robert Comte de Mortain, and it is of course 
probable that he might have followed his lord to Eng- 
land ; but Robert de la Haie, son of the above Ralph, 
only became Lord of Halnac in Sussex by gift of King 
Henry L, and the confusion between Eudo al Chapel 
and Eudo Dapifer, son of Hubert de Rie, which com- 
menced with Orderic, has not been cleared up by 
either the French or the English annotators of Wace. 

Mr. Stapleton, however, in his Notes on the Norman 
Rolls of the Exchequer, has adduced evidence that 
dissipates the doubts expressed by Mr. Taylor respect- 
ing the precise way in which the Haies succeeded to 
Eudo cum Capello. Robert, son of Ralph de la 
Haie, Dapifer to Robert Count of Mortain, married 
Muriel, the daughter and heir of Eudo. The charter 
quoted by Mr. Taylor from Gallia Christiana, which 
describes Robert de Haie, sou of Ralph, seneschal to 
Robert Comte de Mortain, as the grandson (nepos) 
of Eudo, Dapifer to King William, has contributed 
to the confusion, as Robert de Haie was son-in-law to 


Eudo al Chapel, Dapifer to William Duke of Nor- 
mandy, and in no way appears related to Eudo, son 
of Hubert de Rie, Dapifer to the King of England, 
with whom it seems to have been his fate to be con- 

Kobert's mother, wife of Ealph, appears to have 
been Oliva, a daughter of William de Albini Pincerna, 
the second of that name. 


There is no satisfactory evidence of this celebrated 
Norman having fought at Senlac, although it has 
been suggested that Wace may have designated him 
as the Sire de Preaux " Gil de Praels," of which 
Eudo was undoubtedly possessed in 1070. M. le 
Provost, therefore, who himself furnishes us with this 
information, for which he acknowledges his obligation 
to M. Renault, is rather inconsistent in at the same 
time charging the poor poet with " a gross ana- 
chronism," on the ground that the house of Preaux 
was a junior branch of the family of Cailli, which had 
only just been detached from it at the period Wace 
wrote, A.D. 1160; for if the evidence ("titre") dis- 
covered by M. He'nault be trustworthy, Eudo Sire de 
Pre*aux in 1070 may well have been so four years 
previously, and at any rate we know that he died in 


his Castle of Pre'aux in 1120, which is of itself a 
sufficient answer to M. le Prevost's objection, and as 
he himself records that fact, his note on the subject * 
is incomprehensible. 

But to our memoir. This Eudo was the fourth son 
of Hubert de Hie, the loyal vassal who saved the life 
of Duke William in his flight from Valognes by 
mounting him on a fresh horse, and misleading his 
pursuers, who were close upon his heels (vide vol. i., 
p. 23). Three of Hubert's four sons were directed by 
him to escort the Duke, and not leave him till he was 
safe in Falaise. Whether Eudo was one of the three 
we know not, as Orderic does not name them ; but as 
they must all have been young at that time, and Eudo 
the youngest of the four, it is probable that Ralph, 
Hubert, and Adam were the guides and guardians 
of their youthful prince, themselves not much his 

Whether all four were in the Conqueror's army we 
have at present no means of ascertaining, but we find 
them all in England, and, if we may trust our 
authority, their father also immediately after William 
was possessed of the crown. | 

* Roman de Eou. Tom. ii., p. 250. 

\ History of the foundation of St. Peter's, Colchester. Cotton, MS. 
Nero, D 8. 


The account from which we derive it is rather 
apocryphal. In the time of King Edward the 
Confessor, we are told, Hubert de Kie, a trusty 
servant to William Duke of Normandy, being by him 
sent on a mission to that king when he lay on his 
death-bed, came with a pompous equipage* into 
England, and after conference with King Edward, 
returned to the Duke with certain tokens by which he 
was declared by that King his heir to the crown of 
this realm, viz., a sword, in the belt whereof were 
enclosed the relics of some saints, a hunter's horn of 
gold and the head of a mighty stag, for which service 
the Duke promised Hubert he should be steward of his 

But, continues the writer, when Duke William had 
got the crown, fearing that disturbances might arise in 
Normandy, and well weighing the sagacity in counsel 
and dexterity in action of this Hubert, he sent him 
thither to have an eye to that danger, and soon after 
him his sons Ralph, whom he had made Castellan of 
Nottingham, Hubert, governor of the Castle of 
Norwich, and Adam, to whom he had given large 
possessions in Kent ; the which Adam was first 

* " Cum pompa magna, equis phaleratis et frematu terribilibus, 
hominibus serico indutis et colore vestrum spectabilis." Such an 
embassy would scarcely have escaped the notice of the Saxon 


appointed by the King to be one of the commissioners 
for the compilation of the great survey, 1085. 

But Eudo, the fourth son, continuing here in King 
William's service, obtained from him divers lordships 
in sundry counties, viz., in Essex twenty-five, in 
Hertfordshire seven, in Berkshire one, in Bedfordshire 
twelve, in Norfolk nine, and in Suffolk ten ; and 
personally attending the court it so happened that 
William Fitz Osbern, then steward of the household, 
had set before the King the flesh of a crane scarce half 
roasted, whereat the King took such offence as that he 
lifted up his fist and had stricken him fiercely but 
that Eudo bore (warded off) the blow. Whereupon 
Fitz Osbern grew so displeased as that he quitted his 
office, desiring that Eudo might have it. To which 
request the King, as well for his father Hubert's 
demerits and his own, at the desire of Fitz Osbern 
readily yielded. Of this story, which I have quoted 
nearly verbatim from Dugdale,* my readers may 
believe as little as they please respecting the embassy of 
Hubert to England, and the gifts and bequest of Edward 
the Confessor, which if true would not have been kept 
secret by William, whose special interest it was to pro- 
mulgate the dying declaration of the King of England. 

* Baronage, vol. i. p. 109. The detailed account is to be found in. 
his Monasticon, vol. ii. p. 889. 

VOL. n. K 


The anecdote about the ill-roasted crane is not im- 
probable, and is at least characteristic, and may have 
partly influenced the Conqueror in his decision to send 
Fitz Osbern to Normandy in 1070 (vide vol. i. p. 178), 
for he could ill spare at any time the personal 
attendance of a trustworthy " cousin and councillor," 
like the newly created Earl of Hereford. 

It is clear, however, that Eudo became Dapifer after 
the departure of the Earl for Normandy, and for 
seventeen years enjoyed the favour of his sovereign, 
and being in attendance on the dying Conqueror at 
Rouen, was mainly instrumental to the securing 
of the crown to Rufus, whom he accompanied to 
England, and by his representations obtained from 
William de Pont arch e the keys of the treasury at 
Winchester, wherein the regalia, as well as the 
money, was deposited. Thence he hastened to Dover, 
.and bound the governor of the castle by a solemn 
oath that he would not yield it to any one but by his 

Pevensey, Hastings, and other maritime strong- 
holds he managed to secure in like manner, pretending 
that the King, whose death was still rumoured in 
secret, would stay longer in Normandy, and desired to 
have good assurances of the safety of his castles in 
England from himself, his then steward. 


Returning to Winchester he publicly announced 
the death of the Conqueror ; so, while the nobles were 
consulting together in Normandy respecting the 
succession, William II., by Eudo's policy, was pro- 
claimed King in England. 

His great service was duly appreciated by Rufus, in 
whose favour he remained during his whole reign, and 
in 1096-7 founded the Church of St. Peter's at 
Colchester, he himself laying the first stone, Rohesia, 
his wife, the second, and Gilbert Fitz Richard de Clare, 
her brother, the third. 

On the death of Rufus he was coldly looked upon 
by the new King, Henry, who suspected him of being 
a partisan of his brother Robert Court-heuse, but sub- 
sequently was reconciled to him and visited him when 
he was dying in his Castle of Preaux, and advised him 
as to the disposition of his temporal estates. 

To his Abbey at Colchester, wherein he desired to be 
buried, he bequeathed one hundred pounds in money, 
his gold ring with a topaz, a standing cup and cover 
f adorned with plates of gold, his horse and a mule, and 
in addition to the lands he had endowed it with on 
its foundation, he bestowed on it his manor of Bright- 

His body was brought over to England, and accord- 
ing to the desire expressed in his will, buried at 

K 2 


Colchester on the morrow preceding the kalends of 
March, 1120 (20th of Henry I.). 

By his wife Rohesia, daughter of Eichard Fitz 
Gilbert de Clare or de Bienfaite, and Rohesia, only 
daughter of Walter Giffard, the first Earl of Bucking- 
ham, he left issue one sole daughter and heir, named 
Margaret, married to William de Mandeville, and 
mother of Geoffrey de Mandeville, first Earl of Essex, 
to secure whose services King Stephen and the 
Empress Maude appear to have bid against each other 
to a fabulous extent. Dying excommunicated for 
outrages committed on the monks of Ramsey, his 
corpse was carried by some Knights Templars into their 
orchard in the Old Temple at London, arrayed in the 
habit of the Order, and after being enclosed in lead, 
hung on a branch of a tree, where it remained until 
absolution being obtained from Pope Alexander, by 
the intercession of the Prior of Walden, it was taken 
down and privately buried in the porch of the New 
Temple, where his efHgy is still to be seen. 


" Oil ki ert Sire d'Alnou," another of those Norman 
seigneurs Master Wace leaves us to identify, is gene- 
rally held to have been Fulk or Foulques, second son 
of Baudry le Teuton or Baldric the German, of whom 


I have spoken in the memoir of Eichard de Courci 
(p. 85), nephew of Fulk, being the son of his brother 
Eobert. Fulk, like the rest of his brothers, took 
for their surnames those of their fiefs, and Fulk was at 
the time of the Conquest Lord of Aunou-le-Faucon, or, 
as Mons. le Prevost instructs us we should call it, 
" le Foulcon," a designation it had derived from the 
repetition of the name of Fulk during several genera- 
tions of its ancient possessors. However this may be, 
I think it probable that the Fulk d'Aunou at the time 
of the Conquest, and of whom there are charters as 
late as 1082, was a son of the first Sire d'Aunou, and 
a cousin of Richard de Courci and Martel de Bacque- 
ville, the son of Nicholas de Bacqueville-en-Caux, the 
eldest of Baldric's children, which said Martel is also 
included by Wace in his catalogue of the companions 
of the Conqueror. 

" De Bacqueville i fu Martel." Ram. de Eou, 1. 13,651. 

A descendant of this Martel was Dapifer to King 
Stephen in 1143 ; but, although we are told by 
Orderic that the six sons of Baldric the German 
distinguished themselves by their great valour under 
Duke William, from whom they received riches and 
honours, and left to their heirs vast possessions in 
Normandy, not a single feat of arms or important 
action of any description is recorded either of them or 


their sons, two, if not three, of whom were in the army 
at Hastings. 

A Fulcone Claudo is set down in Taylor's List as 
having contributed forty vessels to William's fleet 

"A Fulcone Claudo xl. naves ; " 

but unless Claudo be a clerical error, and we should 
read Alnou, I cannot venture to appropriate the gift 
to the son of Baldric the Teuton. 

Another son of that Baldric was the immediate 
ancestor of a family unequalled for fame and power 
by any in England. The name of Nevil is one of the 
greatest inscribed on the roll of Anglo-Norman 
chivalry ; and though not mentioned by Orderic, 
Wace, Guillaume de Poitiers, or any other chronicler 
in their list of the companions ol the Conqueror, we 
cannot, however questionable may be the authority of 
the Koll of Battle Abbey, challenge the insertion of it 
as one of the proofs of its inaccuracy. 


was the fourth son of Baldric the German, and so 
called from his fief of Neuville-sur-Tocque, in the 
department of the Orne, the arrondissement of Argen- 
tan, and the canton of Gace. The name of his wife 
is as yet unknown to us, but she bore to him four 
sons, Gilbert, Robert, Richard, and Ralph. Gilbert, 


apparently the eldest, is the " Gilbert Normanus " 
traditionally said not only to have come over with 
the Conqueror, but to have been the admiral of his 

This assertion, apparently first made towards the 
close of the fifteenth century, is reported by Leland on 
the authority, as he tells us, of " a roulle of the 
genealogie of the Erles of Westmoreland," but giving 
us no idea of the date of that roll or the authorities 
from which it was compiled. At best it can only 
be looked upon as a family tradition supported, as Mr. 
Drummond appears to think, by the device of a ship 
which is to be seen on the seal of his grand-nephew 
Henry de Neville, preserved in the Duchy of Lan- 
caster Office, and the date of which would be between 
1199 and 1216. 

My experience in these matters induces me to draw 
an inference from this fact directly opposed to that of 
Mr. Drummond. It is my belief, founded on the 
many analogous examples I have met with in the 
course of a tolerably long period passed in such in- 
vestigations, that the tradition of Gilbert de Neville 
having been an admiral has actually arisen from the 
appearance of this ship, which, so far from indicating 
any such office, is nothing more than a device alluding 
to the family name ; Nef, in the old French language 


signifying a ship, and, therefore, picturing the first 
syllable of Nefville, as we find Muscce (flies) upon 
the old seals of the Museamps, and hosts of similar 
and much farther-fetched canting devices. 

Nearly all the strange stories and bold assertions to 
be met with in the works of early historical writers are 
found upon examination to have originated in an 
attempt to account for such concetti, and if Gilbert's 
uncle did really contribute so large a contingent as 
forty ships to the invading fleet, the supposition in the 
present instance seems a very natural one. Monsieur 
Leopold de Lisle, one of the ablest antiquaries in 
France, has in a recently compiled catalogue which has 
been cut in the stone of the western wall of the 
Church of Dives, introduced a Richard de Neuville 
amongst the followers of William, but no Gilbert ; but 
neither by him nor by the Viscount de Magny, who 
has printed the list with some additions in his 
" Nobiliaire de Normandie," is any authority quoted in 
support of the statement, and they have probably so 
distinguished him from observing that the first of the 
name, and who was a contemporary of Duke William, 
was Richard de Novavilla, the father of Gilbert ; but 
this Richard had also a son named Richard, and that 
some of the sons or nephews of the elder Richard 
were present at Hastings is very probable. 


The name of Nevil, it has been confidently asserted, 
does not appear in Domesday. Like many other con- 
fident assertions, it is untrue. Dugdale, who states 
this, and those who have followed him, have overlooked 
the name of Ralph Nevil, who held Thorpe of Turold, 
Abbot of Peterborough. Sir Henry Ellis has also 
omitted the name in his " Introduction " and indexes. 
It occurs however in the Clamores in Westriding, 
county Lincoln, and if Ealph the bishop's man be 
identical with the Ralph Nevil of Thorpe, as there is 
reason to believe, he was tenant of several other lands 
at the time of the survey, and we have seen that the 
youngest brother of Gilbert was named Ralph. 

Be this however as it may, it is no disparagement to 
the family of Nevil to hesitate, in the absence of 
positive authority, to number their direct ancestor 
amongst the leaders of that famous host ; for many of 
the greatest men in Normandy set down in the 
catalogues as having fought at Senlac are now known 
to have first set foot in England after Duke William 
had secured the crown. 

Gilbert, the traditionary admiral, was the direct 
progenitor of Isabella de Neville, wife of Robert Fitz 
Maldred, Lord of Raby, and sole heir to her brother, 
the Henry de Neville before mentioned. 

From her son Geoffrey Fitz Maldred, who assumed 


his mother's name but retained his father's arms,, 
sprang the magnificent tree the branches of which 
are truly said to have overshadowed the land. This 
Saxon line of Nevil has given to England two queens, 
a Princess of Wales, a mother of two kings, a Duke 
of Bedford, a Marquis of Montacute, Earls of North- 
umberland, "Westmoreland, Salisbury, Kent, Warwick, 
and Montacute; Barons Nevil, Furnival, Latimer, 
Fauconberg, Montacute, and Abergavenny ; Duchesses 
of Norfolk, Exeter, York, Buckingham, AVarwick, 
Clarence, and Bedford ; a Marchioness of Dorset ; 
Countesses of Northumberland, Westmoreland, Arun- 
del, Worcester, Derby, Oxford, Suffolk, Rutland, 
Exeter, Bridge water, and Norwich ; Baronesses de Eos, 
Dacre, Scrope, Dovercourt, Mountjoy, Spencer, Fitz 
Hugh, Harrington, Hastings, Comyn, Willoughby de 
Broke, Hunsdon, Cobham, Strange, Montacute, and 
Lucas ; nine Knights of the Garter, two Lord High 
Chancellors, two Archbishops of York, a Bishop of 
Salisbury, of Exeter, and of Durham ! 

I regret that the nature and limits of this work 
debar me from particular notice of many members of 
this wonderful family, the above remarkable list of 
illustrious descendants being of itself a departure from 
the rule I have generally observed of confining my 
annotations to the origin and actions of the actual 


companions and contemporaries of the Conqueror. 
Memoirs of " the Peacock of the North " and " the 
King-maker" would alone demand a volume for their 
illustration ; and it is unnecessary to point out the 
impossibility of doing similar justice to the many 
distinguished descendants of other families whose 
ancestors are recorded to have been present with 
Duke William at Hastings, and would have equal 
claims on my consideration. 








M. LE PROVOST, the French annotator of Wace, is 
disinclined to believe that Neel le Vicomte, whom we 
have seen in arms against Duke William at the battle 
of Val-es-Dunes (vol. i. p. 30), was fighting in his 
cause at Senlac ; and Mr. Taylor, in his English 
version, does little more than cite Le Prevost's 

The reasons of the latter are of no great weight : 
simply that the presence of Neel at Hastings is 
not vouched for by any contemporary authority, an 
objection that would equally apply to three-fourths of 


the persons who undoubtedly were there and that 
the name of " Sanzaver " in Brompton's List is not a 
corruption of Saint-Sauveur, but of Sanzavier (Sans- 
avoir), a family which established itself in England 
at the time of the Conquest, and of whom some 
charters are to be found in Dugdale's " Monasticon." 

Surely this is very illogical. Brompton's inclusion 
of the name of Sanzavier in his List, which is as 
little to be relied upon as any other, does not dis- 
prove the presence of Neel de Saint-Sauveur in the 
army of William, any more than the silence of Guil- 
laume de Poitiers, or the other historians of the 
Conquest who merely mention a few of the principal 
leaders and contradict each other about them. That 
Wace is in error requires some much stronger argu- 
ment, and I think I can show that probabilities are at 
least in his favour. 

He speaks of the Barons of the Cotentin, of which 
province Neel was the Viscount, that he was at the 
head of a company " Jost la cumpaigne Neel " 
(1. 13,626), and that he exerted himself greatly to 
gain the love and favour of his feudal lord, vigorously 
assaulting the English, overthrowing many by the 
poitrail of his horse, and speeding, sword in hand, to 
the rescue of many barons (1. 13,489). It is quite 
clear that Wace knew well enough whom he was 


describing : and now let us see what evidence we can 
find to support him. 

It is well known that after the " Noble Chef de 
Faucon," as he was called, unwillingly retreated from 
Val-es-Dunes, he was banished by Duke William, and 
took refuge in Brittany, that he was subsequently 
pardoned and restored to his estates, at what time is 
not exactly ascertained, but most likely at the moment 
the politic Duke felt the importance of such assistance 
as the valorous Viscount could afford him in his pro- 
jected expedition; and, consequently, we find him at 
the head of a company, exerting himself to deserve 
the favour of the suzerain who had forgiven him his 
former rebellion. 

That he is not mentioned in " Domesday " is, as Mr. 
Taylor admits, to be accounted for by the supposition 
that he died previously to its compilation ; and that 
supposition receives support from the fact that his son 
and successor, the last Neel de Saint-Sauveur, died in 
1092, seven years afterwards, as is proved by the 
desire of his relative, Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, 
to attend his funeral ("Mem. Ant. Norman." i. 286, 
the bishop himself dying the following year. 

According to the Welsh Chronicles, as trans- 
mitted to us by Humphrey Lloyd and Dr. Powell, 
Neel the Viscount was one of the slain in the battle 


of Cardiff, A.D. 1094 (p. 116). Mons. de Gerville, 
following the French account, says 1074, but after- 
wards, as I have already mentioned, corrects as 
he imagines this date, substituting that of 1092 ; 
evidently confounding him with his son and suc- 
cessor above mentioned. 

The more critically the Welsh account of the battle 
of Cardiff is examined, the more does the general 
truth of the, story appear, and if the last Neel the 
Viscount was killed in Wales in 1092, in company 
of Koger, Earl of Shrewsbury, and Arnold de Har- 
court, there is every probability that his father was 
a companion of the Conqueror in 1066. 

But Wace names also a " Sire de Neahou " 
amongst the combatants at Senlac, and it is a question 
whether he is alluding to Neel de Saint-Sauveur by 
another title, or to some distinct individual. The 
fief of Nehou, in the arrondissement of Valognes, 
received its name from Neel, an ancestor of the Saint- 
Sauveur family, Nehou signifying Neel's Hou or Holm, 
i. e. Nigelli Humus. On the banishment of Neel the 
Viscount in 1047, Nehou is said to have been given by 
Duke William to Baldwin de Meules ; but it could not 
have been at that period, as Baldwin and his brother 
Eichard were then refugees in Flanders, and not 
received into the Duke's favour until 1053. Was 


Nehou excepted when William restored to Neel his 
estates previous to the Conquest, or did it pass to the 
Bivieres (De Redvers, Kivers) on the death of his son, 
the last of the family, in 1092 ? I shall return to 
this subject when noticing the Vernons (vide p. 205), 
who were Sires de Nehou from the end of the eleventh 
to the end of the thirteenth century. 


This is supposed to be another inaccuracy of Master 
Wace's, and we are told by M. le Prevost that we 
should read Roger instead of William, the Norman 
poat having substituted the name of the son for that 
of the father. That William, the son of Roger de 
Roumare, was not at Hastings I readily admit, but 
Wace does not say he was. He simply mentions a 
" Dam Willame de Romare," and unless we could 
clearly show there was no such person then existing, 
it is hardly fair to tax an almost contemporaneous 
author with even unintentional misrepresentation. 
The pedigree of the family of Roumare is one of the 
most puzzling in the whole catalogue of Norman 
nobility. The diligent study of forty years has not 
enabled me to penetrate its mysteries. Edward of 
Salisbury, one of its most important members, has still 
to be satisfactorily affiliated, and the Roger de 


Koumare suggested to be substituted for the William 
of Wace is equally difficult to identify. 

It is almost impossible to move a step in these 
directions without acknowledging our obligations to- 
the late Mr. Stapleton, who has done so much to eluci- 
date the descent of our Anglo-Norman ancestors. 

To him we are indebted for the information that 
previous to the Conquest there lived a certain Gerald, 
who had two wives, Albreda and Emicia, and a son 
probably by the first, who is presumed to be the- 
Kobert Fitz Gerald of Domesday, and the brother of 
Roger Fitz Gerald, father of William de Roumare, 
created Earl of Lincoln by King Stephen. 

In my paper on " The Family and Connections of 
Robert Fitz Gerald," the Domesday holder of Corfe, in 
the county of Dorset (Congress of the British Archaeo- 
logical Association, at Weymouth, 1872), I exposed the- 
absurd story, stereotyped in English History, of the 
three husbands of Lucia, Countess of Chester, which had 
been first doubted by the Rev. Mr. Bowles in his 
" History of Laycock Abbey ; " but with the particular 
object of that Paper I have at present nothing to do. 

All that we know of Roger Fitz Gerald, also called 
De Roumare, or De Romara, is that he was the father 
of the William de Roumare, first of that name, Earl of 
Lincoln, by a lady named Lucia, who, through the 



neglect of verifying dates, has been confounded pro- 
bably with her mother, married to her father before 
she was born, set down as the sister-in-law of her own 
son, and thus innocently made the cause of consider- 
able trouble to the learned and curious in history and 
genealogy. The first fact we are in possession of 
respecting Eoger Fitz Gerald is his appearance as Lord 
of Spalding in the county of Lincoln, before the death of 
Rufus in 1100. The date of his marriage is unknown, 
but his son William must have been of full age in 
1122, as in that year he claimed of King Hemy I. 
certain lands which his step-father, Ranulf de 
Briquessart, had surrendered to the King for the 
earldom of Chester. It is clear, therefore, that Roger 
was dead and William twenty-one and upwards in 
1122, so that the latter could not possibly have fought 
at Senlac, seeing that he was not born till at least 
thirty } 7 ears after it. 

It is a question, indeed, whether his father Roger 
de Roumare was present at Hastings, as we find him 
Lord of Spalding thirty-four years afterwards, and are 
informed that he was a young man newly married at 
that period, and I am not aware of any reliable evi- 
dence to the contrary. 

But, as I have already observed, there is nothing in 
what we do know to disprove the statement of Wace, 


that there was a William de Roumare in the ranks of 
the Norman army of invasion. Without relying on 
the statement of Peter de Blois, that Roger Fitz 
Gerald had an elder brother named William, by whom 
Lucia was honourably received on her marriage, and 
whom the writer inaccurately styles Earl of Lincoln, 
there is every probability that such was the fact. 

Gerold de Roumare, the presumed father of Roger, 
had two wives Albreda and Emicia ; but we have 
no information whatever that can be relied on re- 
specting the number of his offspring, or, with the 
exception of Robert, of which of his wives they were 
the issue. 

The above little but important fact is derived from 
a charter printed in Pommeraye's " Histoire de I'Ab- 
baye de St. Amand de Rouen," fol. 1662, in which a 
knight named Gerold gives to the Abbey of St. Amand 
the Church of Roumare for the sake of his own soul 
and that of his wife Albreda, with the assent of his 
son and heir Robert, and the attestation of Ralph, 
brother of Gerold. 

The son Robert is supposed to be the Robert Fitz 
Gerald of "Domesday," and the brother Ralph the 
Chamberlain of Tankerville, of whom I shall have to 
speak presently. Roger is not mentioned, nor any 
William ; but if there was a William de Roumare, an 

I. 2 


elder brother, he would at the time of the Conquest 
be " Dom (Dominus) William de Romare," and dying 
unmarried before the compilation of " Domesday," no 
traces might have been left of him. At all events I have 
found nothing to justify the rejection of Wace's state- 
ment, and therefore leave the name of William at the 
head of this chapter as a companion of the Conqueror, 
convinced that there might be a Eobert, but certainly 
not a Roger, Fitz Gerald in the host at Hastings. 


No identification of this noble Norman has yet been 
made by any of the commentators on the " Roman de 
Rou," in which alone we find such a personage in- 
cluded in the list of the followers of the Duke of 
Normandy. Mr. Taylor says, " M. le PreVost rather 
inconclusively observes that Ralph, William's guardian, 
was too old and his children too young to be engaged;" 
and adds, " Ralph's age is hardly itself a competent 
contradiction to Wace's statement ; /or his charter 
giving the Church of Mireville to Jumieges shows 
that he was living in 1079. William, his son and 
successor as Chamberlain, so appears in 1082." 

I certainly do not share the opinion of Le Prevost, 
and am at a loss to know where he found that Ralph, 
the Chamberlain of Tankerville, was guardian to 


Duke William. I have just mentioned this Ralph as 
the supposed brother of Gerold de Roumare and uncle 
of the William de Roumare I believe to have been 
at Hastings. Ralph was hereditary chamberlain of 
Normandy ; but which of his family had first exer- 
cised that office is at present unknown. 

The small Church of St. George, in the vill of that 
name in the forest of Roumare, first endowed by Duke 
William, was subsequently rebuilt by Ralph, who is 
styled by the Duke in his charter of confirmation, 
" Meus magister Aulaque et Camera mea princeps." 
" My major-domo or master of the household and first 
chamberlain/' Ralph also had the church re-deco- 
rated, and confirmed the grant which his father, Ge- 
raldus, and his brothers had given to St. George. A 
brother of Ralph, named Giraldus, was also an officer 
of William's household ; and it was " Coram Giraldo 
Dapifer meo" that William, while yet Duke of the 
Normans, ratified a convention between Hugh de 
Pavilly and the Canons of St. George, the witnesses 
being the same Giraldus and Robert his son. 

Now we have here two Gerolds, one who simply 
styles himself " a soldier of Christ," and the other 
the Dapifer (steward or seneschal) of William, King of 
the English. We also find one of these Gerolds re- 
joicing in two wives, named Albreda and Emicia, and 


who has a son, Robert, by the first ; while the other 
Gerold had a wife named Helisendis. Whether they 
were both Gerolds of Eoumare, how they were con- 
nected, which was the father of Roger de Roumare, 
and which of Ralph the Chamberlain, has yet to be 
distinctly proved. The names of Gerald, Robert, 
Ralph, and William were much too common at that 
period to be of themselves sufficient identification ; 
but that the chamberlain of Tankerville mentioned by 
Wace was Ralph, the son of Gerold and father of 
William the Chamberlain, I think cannot reasonably 
be doubted. A little more light on the family of the 
Chamberlain has been thrown by the authors of 
" Recherches sur le Domesday," in their notice of a 
personage better known to the readers of English 
history, namely 


The name of "Dabitott" appears in the Roll of 
Battle Abbey, and although not mentioned by Wace 
and the other chroniclers of the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries, may fairly be admitted as belonging to one 
of the companions of the Conqueror, the absence of his 
baptismal name, however, preventing us from appro- 
priating it to Urso or to his father, Aumary d'Abetot, 
an appellation derived from the lands of St. Jean 


d'Abetot, canton of Calbose, arrondissement of Havre, 
the lordship of which belonged to the family of 
Tankerville, as appears from the charter of formation 
of the college of St. George de Bosherville, to which 
Ralph Fitz Gerald, in 1050, gave the church and 
tithes of Abetot for the support of the monks of that 
college, which was made an abbey in 1124. 

This Ralph Fitz Gerald, who is the Chamberlain of 
Tankerville of the last memoir, was the elder brother 
of Aumary d'Abetot, above mentioned. Their father 
being the Gerold who was the husband of Helisendis 
(not Gerold of Roumare, husband of Albreda), and 
who probably, as Sire de Tankerville, held the hereditary 
office of chamberlain to the Dukes of Normandy, which 
we find his son Ralph and his grandson William 
enjoying in succession. 

Aumary, his younger son, inherited the fiefs of 
Abetot, and was the father of two sons, Urso and 
Robert, the latter distinguished as "Despencer," an 
office which gave a name to the noble families of Le 
Despencer and Spenser, who trace their descent from 
the niece of this Robert d'Abetot. Whether Urso 
was or was not in the army at Hastings there is at 
present no decisive evidence; but that he was in 
England shortly afterwards, and made sheriff of the 
counties of Gloucester and Worcester, there is proof 


enough. In 1073 he was one of the King's council, 
and rendered great service in the suppression of the 
rebellion of the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk. His 
character, however, as a spoiler and devastator is, 
amongst the worst recorded of the Norman settlers in 
England, and he appears to have especially oppressed 
the Church of Worcester, building so close to it that 
the mole of the castle encroached on the cemetery 
of the monks.* 

A complaint being made to Archbishop Ealdred, 
Archbishop of York, he came to Worcester and in- 
spected the work, and sternly reproved Urso, to whom 
he is reported to have said : 

" Hightest thou, Urse? 
Have thou God's curse !" 

adding, " and mine and that of all holy men unless 
thou removest thy castle from hence, and know of a 
truth that thine offspring shall not long hold the land 
of St. Mary to their heritage. " 

The prophecy, if not a subsequent invention, was 
soon fulfilled, for his son Eoger d'Abetot, having 
killed a servant of Henry I., was banished and his 
confiscated estates given by the King, with the hand 
of his sister Emmeline dAbetot, to Walter de Beau- 
champ of Bedford. 

* William of Malmesbury : De Gestis Pontificum. 


Urso was living as late as the reign of Henry L, 
but the date of his death is not recorded. The 
authors of " Eecherches " were mistaken in saying that 
his wife's name was unknown. She witnessed her 
husband's charter to Great Malvern as "Atheliza, 
Vicecomitissi." Of her parentage however, we are 

The ungallant conduct of the early genealogists 
toward the female members of our noble Norman 
families, deprives history of much of its interest and 
is the cause of endless confusion and perplexity. 


Lacie, now called Lassy, the place from which this 
great Norman family derived its name, is on the road 
from Vere to Auvray. Of its earlier lords we know 
nothing, and Waco's " Cil de Lacie " and " Le 
Chevalier de Lacie/' do not enlighten us. Neither do 
we receive much assistance from his French or English 
annotators, who refer us to Dugdale and the English 

From them we learn that a Walter and an Ilbert dc 
Lacy were certainly present at Senlac, though how 
related to each other they have no evidence, nor can 
we venture to suggest which was the " Sire de Lacie " 
of the poet, and which " the Chevalier/' if we are to 


consider them two distinct personages. That they 
were brothers, however, is fairly presumable, from the 
fact that the mother of Ilbert de Lacy, Emma, is 
named in a charter, and Walter had a daughter Emma, 
named according to custom after her grandmother. 
No particular deed of arms is attributed to either ; but 
the Sire de Lacie is named as one of a party of seven 
or eight knights who charged the J^nglish in company, 
" fearing neither prince nor pope. Many a man did 
they overthrow, many did they wound, and many a 
good horse did they kill." As early as the third year 
of William's reign, 1069, Walter de Lacy was sent into 
Wales with William Fitz Osbern and other tried 
soldiers, against the people of Brecknock, led by their 
Prince of Wales, Rhys ap Owen, Cadogan ap Blethyn, 
and Meredith ap Owen, whom they attacked and de- 
feated with great slaughter. 

Subsequently he assisted Wulstan, Bishop of 
Worcester, and Urso d'Abitot, then sheriff of that 
county, in preventing the passing of the Severn by 
the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk, with the object of 
effecting a junction of their forces. 

His death, however, was not on the field of battle, 
nor was he shorn a monk in some abbey according to 
a prevalent custom of the period. 

Having founded the Church of St. Peter at Hereford, 


and taking much interest in the building, when the 
work was nearly finished, he mounted a ladder to 
inspect some portion of it, when his foot slipping, he fell 
and was killed on the spot (6 kalends of April, 1084). 

He was buried in the chapter-house of the Cathedral 
at Gloucester, to which Emmeline, his wife, for the 
health of his soul, gave five hides of land at 

By this lady, whoever she was, he left three sons, 
Roger, Hugh, and "Walter, the last a monk in the 
Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester ; and two daughters, 
Ermeline and Emma. 

Dying before the compilation of Domesday, we can- 
not be certain what was his reward in lands and 
honours for the sendees he had rendered his 
sovereign ; but in that precious record we find his 
son and successor, Roger, in possession of ninety-six 
lordships, sixty-five of which were in Gloucestershire, 
besides four carucates of land lying within the limits 
of the Castle of Civia, which King William had 
bestowed on his father. Conspiring, however, against 
William Rufus, first with Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, 
and afterwards with Robert de Mowbray, Earl of 
Northumberland, he was banished the realm and all 
his lands given to his brother Hugh, the founder of 
Llanthony Priory, who, dying without issue, left his 


great inheritance between his two sisters above 
named. Ermeline had no children ; but Emma,* by a 
husband unnamed, had issue, a son, Gilbert, who 
assumed the name of Lacy and became the ancestor of 
the great lord of Ulster and conqueror of the largest 
part of Ireland. 


The other companion of the Conqueror received for 
his services at Senlac, the castle and town of Ponte- 
fract and all that part of the county of Lancaster then 
as now called Blackburnshire, with other lands of vast 
extent, so that at the time of the general survey he 
possessed one hundred and seventy lordships, the 
greater portion of them in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, 
and Lincolnshire, and obtained from King William 
Eufus a confirmation of all those customs belonging to 
his Castle at Pontefract, which he had enjoyed in the 
time of King William his father. 

By his wife, a lady named Hawise, he left two sons, 
Eobert and Hugh, the former of Avhom completed 
the building of the Abbey of St. Oswald at Nostcll, the 
foundation of which was commenced by his father, and 
amply endowed it. 

* An Emma de Lacie, probably the aunt of this Emma, took the 
veil in the Convent of St. Amand de Eouen before 1069. 


This true line of Lacy terminated with the grandson 
of the above Kobert, and the Constables of Chester and 
the Earls of Lincoln, who assumed the name, inherited 
the lands and honours, but not a drop of the Lacy 
blood, as it would be inferred from the polite peer- 
ages in which the reader would naturally look for 
information. As frequently we find it to be the case, 
they need not the flattering unction applied to them, 
being descended from equally ancient and valiant 
progenitors, the families of the De Lizures and the Fitz 
Nigels, barons of Halton, united in the persons of 
Kichard Fitz Eustace, Constable of Chester, in right of 
his mother Agnes, the first wife of Henry de Lacy, by 
her former husband, Eustace Fitz John, and of 
Albreda, daughter of Robert de Lizures, by the second 
wife and widow of the said Henry. 


Robert and Ivo de Vassy, in the arrondissement of 
Vere, and anglicised Vesci, are admitted to have been 

' O * 

in William's expedition, and to have settled in England. 
Their family connection with the later Lacies, Earls of 
Lincoln, induces me to select them for the notice 
immediately following. 

The relations of these two valiant Normans is as 
uncertain as that of Walter and Ilbert de Lacy, and 


the same difficulty exists of identifying the " Sires de 
Vaccie," mentioned by Wace with the Eobert and Ivo 

The former we find in Domesday the possessor of 
nineteen lordships in the counties of Northampton, 
Warwick, Lincoln, and Leicester, and Ivo equally well 
provided for, the Conqueror having presented him 
with the hand of Alda, the granddaughter of Gilbert 
Tyson, Lord of Alnwick, in the county of Northum- 
berland, who had fallen on the side of Harold at Senlac, 
and only daughter and heir of his son William, Lord 
of Alnwick and Malton, to whom she bore an only 
daughter and heir, Beatrice, the first wife of Eustace 
Fitz John, whose son, by her named William, assumed 
the name of De Vesci and bequeathed it to his heirs. 
His grandson John was the first Baron de Vesci sum- 
moned to Parliament by writ, 24th December, 1264 ; 
and with William, the illegitimate son of his brother 
William, summoned by writ as third Baron, 8th 
January, 1313, and killed at the battle of Sterling 
in 1315, the title became extinct, and the estates 
were carried by the heiress of a collateral branch into 
the family of the Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland, with 
the exception of Alnwick, which was sold in 1309 to 
Henry de Percy, and thus became one of the noblest 
possessions of the Earls of Northumberland. 


The present Viscount de Vesci and Lords Fitz 
Gerald and Vesci claim to be descended from a 
collateral branch of this family which settled in 

M. le Prevost, in the supplement to his Notes on 
the " Eoman de Rou," tells us that according to the 
information furnished to M. Lachesnaye des Bois, the 
family of Vassy descended from Richard, nephew of 
Raoul Tete-d'Ane (Raoul de Grace' so called) by his 
grandson Auvray, who inherited the lands of Vassy, 
and gave his name to the forest of Auvray ; but that 
unfortunately such persons are only known to us from 
the traditions of the family at present bearing the 

M. de G-erville remarks that there is a Vesey near 
Pontorson, but does not consider that it is in any way 
connected with the Vassys of Normandy, or the Vescis 
of England ; the latter of whom, wherever they hail 
from, are undoubtedly descendants of the companions 
of the Conqueror. 


This gallant Norman, called Enguerrand by Wace, 
was the son of Fulbert de Beine, founder of the Castle 
of 1'Aigle, on the river Risle, arrondissement of Mortain, 


and therefore probably one of the knights in the 
service of Robert, Comte de Mortain. 

Wace tells us "he came with shield slung at his 
neck, and with his lance fiercely charged the English. 
He strove hard to serve the Duke well for the sake of 
the lands he had promised him " (Roman de Rou, 
1. 13,592). 

Alas ! he was not allowed to enjoy what he had 
so bravely striven to obtain. He is one of the very 
few whose names have descended to us as having 
undoubtedly fallen in that memorable battle. "Wace, 
strangely enough, says nothing of his death, which is 
thus recorded by Orderic : " The Normans, finding the 
English completely routed, pursued them vigorously 
all Sunday night, but not without suffering a great 
loss, for galloping onward in hot pursuit they fell un- 
awares, horses and armour, into an ancient trench, 
overgrown and concealed by rank grass, and rolling 
over each other were crushed and smothered. This 
accident restored confidence to the routed English, 
for, perceiving the advantage given them by the 
mouldering rampart and a succession of ditches, 
they rallied in a body, and, making a sudden 
stand, caused the Normans severe loss. At this place 
Enguerrand, Lord of 1'Aigle, and many others fell, 
the number of the Normans who perished being, 


as reported by some who were present, nearly fifteen 
thousand." * 

Fifteen thousand ! Exactly a fourth of the invad- 
ing army, the entire force of which is calculated at 
sixty thousand men. Orderic must surely mean the 
loss in the whole action, and not in that particular 
disaster in the " Malefosse," which is still to my 
mind as uncertain both as regards time and locality 
as ever. The scene of this celebrated incident has 
been generally considered to be on one side or other of 
the hill of Senlac itself ; but if Orderic's account is to 
be credited, and the Normans were hotly pursuing the 
fugitives all Sunday night, they must have been some 
miles distant from the field of battle when they 
floundered into this fatal ravine or morass in the grey 
light of Monday morning. 

The death of Euguenulf is all that concerns us at 
the present moment, and whether he was slain in the 
thick of the fight or in the pursuit may never be 
ascertained. All the accounts we have of the battle 
are derived from hearsay evidence only, and are as 
loose and contradictory as such accounts must ever be. 

To return to Euguenulf himself. He had for wife 
a lady named Bicheveride, by whom he was father of 
three sons, Koger, Richard, and Gilbert. Roger, the 

* Lib. iii., cap. xii. 


eldest, was slain (how is not recorded) about the year 
1060, and Orderic informs us that Euguenulf and his- 
wife Bicheveride came to St. Evroult in deep grief, 
entreating the prayers and good offices of the monks 
for the salvation of their souls and that of their son 
Roger, which were granted, and thereupon Roger's- 
best horse was offered by his parents to God and the 
monks. The horse being very valuable, Arnould 
d'Eschafour begged to have it in exchange for the 
lands and services of Baldric de Bacquency, whose 
fief had been ceded to him by the Abbey. 

We find, therefore, that six years before the inva- 
sion Euguenulf was married, and the father of appa- 
rently grown-up sons, and we may therefore conclude- 
that he was between forty and fifty in 1066, when he 
was killed at Senlac. 

A sad fate seemed to pursue his family. On the 
18th November, 1085, while the royal army under 
the command of Alan the Red, Earl of Richmond, 
was marching to the siege of the Castle of St. 
Suzanne, a beardless youth, concealed in the bushes on 
the roadside, shot an arrow, which mortally wounded 
Richer de TAigle, the eldest surviving son of Euguenulf, 
in the eye. His followers rode up, burning with rage, 
and seizing the youth, would have put him to death on 
the spot ; but the dying Baron, with a violent effort, 


generously exclaimed, "Spare him for the love of 
God ! It is for my sins that I am thus called to die." 

The assassin being allowed to go free, the noble 
lord confessed himself to his companions in arms, 
and expired before they could convey him to I/Aigle. 
His body was borne to the convent of St. Sulpice- 
sur-Risle, which his father had founded near L'Aigle, 
where he was buried, with great lamentations of 
his kinsfolk and connections, by Gilbert Bishop of 

In the month of January following, Gilbert de 
1'Aigle, eager to avenge his brother, made, in con- 
junction with William de Warren and William Comte 
d'Evreux, a desperate assault on the Castle of St. 
Suzanne ; but they were vigorously repulsed by the 
garrison. William Comte d'Evreux being taken prisoner. 
In 1091 we find Gilbert in high favour with Robert 
Court-heuse, who made him Viscount of the Hiemois, 
and gave him the castle for his residence. 

This deeply offended the violent and detestable 
Robert de Belesme, of whose turbulence and wicked- 
ness you have heard so much already, who assembled 
his troops, and in the first week of January, 1091, 
besieged the castle for four days, assaulting it with 
great fury and persistence, notwithstanding a severe 
frost and heavy fall of snow. Gilbert had but a small 

M 2 


number of retainers in the castle, but they were brave 
and loyal, and made a stout resistance, hurling spears 
and stones on the assailants, and precipitating into 
the ditch those who attempted to scale the walls. 
Meanwhile his nephew, Gilbert, the young lord of 
L'Aigle, son of Eicher slain on the march to St. Suzanne, 
hearing of his uncle's position, came to his assistance 
with eighty men, and getting into the castle by night, 
supplied the garrison with fresh provisions and arms, 
and enabled them to continue the defence. Upon 
this, Eobert de Belesme, finding the place too strong 
for him, in great rage and mortification drew off his 
troops, and retreated ingloriously to his own territory. 
The following year, as the elder Gilbert, brother of 
Eicher, was returning home from a visit to Sainte 
Scholasse, he halted at Moulins to pay his respects to 
Duda, daughter of Waleran, Earl of Meulent, and 
second wife of William de Moulins, lord of that castle, 
and leaving towards evening unarmed and attended 
only by his esquires, was seen and pursued by Gerrard 
Chevreuil and Eobert de Ferrers, with some thirteen 
men-at-arms of the Corbonnais, who endeavoured to 
take him alive. He spurred his horse to a gallop, but 
was overtaken and wounded in the side by one of their 
spears so badly that he died the same day, and on the 
morrow, which was bissextile- day (29th of February, 


1092), he was buried at St. Sulpice, by the side of his 
parents, amid universal sorrow, Gilbert, Bishop of 
Evreux, and Serlo, Abbot of St. Evroult, officiating. 

Thus we see the three sons of Euguenulf, who him- 
self fell in battle, meet one after the other Avith a 
violent death. Roger slain in his youth, Eicher in 
the pride of manhood, and Gilbert while still in the 
prime of life. 

The latter was unmarried, but Richer was the 
husband of Judith, daughter of Richard, surnamed 
Goz, Viscount of the Avranchin, and Emma de Conte- 
ville, half-sister of the Conqueror, to whom he conse- 
quently stood in the position of a nephew. 

This lord, says Orderic, " was deservedly regretted 
by his acquaintance for the many virtues with which 
he was endowed. In person he was strong, handsome, 
and active; a faithful observer of the divine laws, 
courteous and humble with men of religion, prudent 
and eloquent in worldly affairs, and gentle and liberal 
in all his conduct." 

The issue of Richer and Judith were Gilbert, Eugue- 
nulf, Matilda, and, according to Orderic, "several 
other sons and daughters " but I have not found 

O * 

traces of them. "They all," he adds, "died" (early, 
I presume he means) with the exception of Gilbert, 
" who became the heir to his father's virtues, estates, 


and honours." He should have also excepted Matilda, 
wife of Kobert de Mowbray, and who by dispensation of 
the Pope married, during her husband's incarceration, 
Nigel de Albini (vide p. 30, ante), but who cer- 
tainly was not an exception to the unfortunate destiny 
attending the majority of her family. 

Gilbert, the second of that name, Lord of L'Aigle, 
the young warrior who so opportunely came to the 
rescue of his uncle when besieged by Kobert de 
Belesme, married Juliana, daughter of Geoffrey, Count 
of Mortagne, who, reflecting that the slaying of Gilbert 
Viscount of the Hiemois, by men who were his vassals, 
had sown the seeds of infinite mischief to his own 
territories, endeavoured to accommodate matters with 
the nephew, and prove that he had no participation in 
the act, by the offer to him of his daughter's hand, 
which was accepted, and secured peace between the 
two families for a period of forty years, an unprece- 
dented circumstance in the early history of Normandy, 
the barons whereof were in constant hostility one with 

But even peace could not preserve the line of 
L'Aigle from calamity. Of the four sons born to 
Gilbert and Juliana, two were drowned together in 
the wreck of the " White Ship," 25th November, 






THIS name, familiarised to the reader's ears by the 
noble poem of Walter Scott, will conjure up visions of 
" Norham's castled steep/' and the welcome that 
awaited there the 

' ' Lord of Fontenraye, 
Of Lutterward and Scrivelbaye, 
Of Tamworth. Tower and Town ; " 

a fictitious personage, as " the Wizard of the North " 
admits, but invested by his genius with such a sem- 
blance of truth, that it is difficult not to believe in his 

Wace speaks of the companion of the Conqueror 
-as " old Roger Marmion ; " but no Roger appears 
in the pedigree before the times of Richard I. It is 
generally conceived that Roger is either a clerical or 


typographical error, and that Kobert, to whom Wil- 
liam the Conqueror gave "Tamworth Tower and 
Town " shortly after the Conquest, must be the 
Marmion who had assisted him in the achievement. 

Of that Kobert the following story is told by Dug- 
dale, on the faith of an ancient MS. in his day in 
the possession of John Ferrers, Esq., of Tamworth 

" In the time of the Norman Conqueror, Eobert 
Marmion having, by the gift of that king, the Castle of 
Tamworth, in the county of Warwick, with the territory 
adjacent, thence expelled those nuns he found there 
unto a place called Oldbury, about four miles distant, 
after which, within the compass of a twelvemonth it 
is said, making a costly entertainment at Tamworth 
Castle for some of his friends, amongst which was Sir 
Walter de Somerville, Lord of Whichever, in the county 
of Stafford, his sworn brother, it so happened that as he 
lay in his bed, St. Edith appeared to him as a veiled 
nun, with a crozier in her hand, and advertized him, 
that if he did not restore the Abbey of Poles worth, 
(which lay within the territories of the Castle of 
Tamworth,) he should have an evil death, and go to 

." Well, it appears St. Edith did not mince her 

words, but spoke pure Anglo-Saxon, " and that he 
might be the more sensible of this her admonition," 


continues the narrator, " she smote him on the side 
with the point of her crozier, and so vanished away ! 
Moreover, that by this stroke being much wounded, 
he cried out so loud that his friends in the house 
arose, and rinding him extremely tormented with the 
pain of his wound, advised him to confess himself to 
a priest, and vow to restore them (the nuns) to their 
former possession. Furthermore, that having so done, 
his pain eased, and that in accomplishment of his 
vow, accompanied by Sir Walter de Somerville and 
the rest, he forthwith rode to Oldbury, and craving 
pardon of the nuns for the injury done, brought them 
back to Polesworth, desiring that himself and his 
friend Sir Walter de Somerville might be reputed 
their patrons, and have burial for themselves and their 
heirs in the Abbey, viz., the Marmions in the chapter- 
house, and the Somervilles in the cloister." "How- 
ever," adds worthy Norroy, " some circumstances 
in this story may seem fabulous" (as they un- 
doubtedly do), " the main substance of it is certainly 
true, for it expressly appeareth by the very words of 
his charter, that he gave to Osanna the prioress, for 
the establishing of the religion of those nuns there, 
the church of St. Edith of Polesworth, with its appur- 
tenances, so that the Convent of Oldbury (de Aldo- 
beria) should remain in that place, and afterwards 


bestowed on them the whole lordship of Polesworth, 
with its demesnes in Waverton, which grant King 
Stephen afterwards confirmed." 

Robert Marmion had a wife named Milicent, with 
whose consent he gave the neighbouring town of 
Butegate to the monks of Bardney, in the county of 
Lincoln, for the health of the souls of his father and 
mother (unfortunately not naming them), his own and 
his wife's soul, and the souls of their heirs. 

No particular feats of arms are recorded of old 
Robert or Roger, as the case may be, either at Senlac 
or elsewhere; Wace merely says that in the great 
battle he and Raoul Taisson de Cingueleiz behaved 
themselves as barons should, and were afterwards 
richly rewarded. 

When he died I have not found, but if deserving 
the epithet of "old" in 1066, he could scarcely have 
lived till the reign of Henry L, who granted to his 
son and heir, Robert, free warren in all his lands in 
Warwickshire, as Robert his father had, and particu- 
larly at Tamworth. 

This second Robert possessed the strong Castle of 
Fontenai, near Caen, called from its ancient lords 
Fontenai le Marmion, to distinguish it from eight 
other communes of the same name in Normandy ; and 
it is a question whether the " Sire de Fontenei " men- 


tioned by "Wace (1. 13,796) was the lord of another 
Fontenai, or, as it has been suggested, the same 
person he has previously spoken of as " le viel Rogier 
Marmion." Several other analogous instances occur 
in the " Roman de Rou," and 1 think its author has 
been too hastily accused of inaccuracy. 

The fate of the second Robert Marmion, who 
married a Maud de Beauchamp, whom 1 have not yet 
been able to affiliate, is deserving notice. " Being a 
great adversary to the Earl of Cliester, who had a 
noble seat at Coventry in the eighth of Stephen, he 
entered the priory there, which was but a little 
distance from that Earl's castle, and expelling the 
monks, fortified it, digging in the fields adjacent 
divers deep ditches covered over with earth, to the 
intent that such as made approaches thereto should be 
entrapped ; whereupon it so happened that as he rode 
out himself to reconnoitre the Earl of Chester's forces 
that began to draw near, he fell into one of them and 
broke his thigh, so that a common soldier presently 
seizing on him, cut off his head."'"' 

The Mannions held the manor of Scrivelsby, in the 
county of Lincoln, by the service of performing the office 
of champion at the King's coronation : a co-heir of the 
family brought Scrivelsby and the championship into 

* Dugdale : Baronage, vol. i. 


the family of Ludlow, and thence to that of Dynioke, 
and the office was claimed and served by Sir Henry 
Dynioke of Scrivelsby, most probably for the last time, 
at the coronation of his Majesty King George IV., 
July 19, 1821. But the name of Marmion indi- 
cates the possession originally of another office, as its 
meaning is much the same as Despenser. William 
Beauchamp of Bedford, connected with the Marmions, 
acted as grand almoner at the nuptials of King 
Henry III. 


The name of this great historical, prolific, and wide- 
spreading family, of which no less than ten branches 
are recorded in the Baronage of England, appears in 
every list of the companions of the Conqueror, but is 
not mentioned by any of the contemporary writers. Nor 
do the old lists in which it occurs give the baptismal 
names of the persons recorded, and we have therefore 
to search in other quarters for evidence that will enable 
us to identify the particular member or members of 
the family who may be fairly presumed to have been 
present in the battle of Hastings. 

In this instance, Domesday supplies us with 
sufficient information to justify us in admitting the 
probability of the statement of MM. de Magny and 


Delisle, that it was a Hugh cle Beauchamp who for 
his services at the time of the Conquest, received 
four lordships in Buckinghamshire, and forty-three, 
or the greatest portion of them, in Bedfordshire, 
and was the immediate ancestor of the Beauchamps of 

Of his own parentage I have found no note, but he 
was most probably descended from the Norman lords 
of Beauchamp of Avranches, seated between that city 
and Granville, and a kinsman of the Robert de Beau- 
champ, Viscount of Argues, in the reign of Henry L, 
who is first mentioned by Orderic under the year 
1171, when by the King's order he seized the castle of 
Elias de Saint-saens, who had the guardianship of the 
young heir of Normandy, William Clito, with the 
object of arresting that prince and consigning him to 

By his wife, unknown, Hugh de Beauchamp is said 
to have had three sons : Simon, who died without 
issue ; Pagan or Payne, to whom William Rufus gave 
the whole barony of Bedford with the castle, which was 
the caput or head of the barony, and Milo, the 
ancestor of the Beauchamps of Eaton. Thus Dugdale 
and others ; but there is undoubtedly some confusion 
here which, though noticed by the English translator 
of Orderic, has not been cleared up by him. 


The De Beauchamps who so strongly defended Bed- 
ford Castle were,- according to Orderic, the sons of 
Robert de Beauchamp, and not of Hugh, as above 
stated ; and if this Eobert be identical with the 
Viscount of Arques we have just heard of, the whole 
line of Beauchamp of Bedford is thrown into 

Orderic says that King Stephen, against the 
advice of his brother Henry, Bishop of Winchester, 
laid siege to Bedford, but as it was the season of 
Christmas, and the winter very rainy, after great 
exertions he had no success. Indeed, the sons of 
Robert de Beauchamp defended the place with great 
resolution, and until the arrival of the Bishop, the 
King's brother, rejected all terms of submission to 
Stephen. Not that they resolved to deny the fealty 
and service they owed to him as their liege lord, but 
having heard that the King had given the daughter of 
Simon de Beauchamp to Hugh, surnamed the Poor, 
with her father's lordships, they feared they should 
lose their whole inheritance.* 

Now here we have also the information that Simon, 
who is said to have died without issue, left a daughter, 
for that she could not be the daughter of the second 
Simon in the pedigree, son of Pagan, first baron of 

* Lib. xiii. cap. xxxyi. 


Bedford, is clear, as that Simon was living in the eighth 
of John, 1207. 

Dugdale, upon no authority that I can see, calls 
her the sister of the defenders of Bedford, whom he 
describes as the sons of the second Simon de Beau- 
champ, steward to King Stephen, which is simply 
impossible, for the reason just given. We have there- 
fore three different fathers to choose from for the 
progenitors of the line of Eaton. 

Let us now turn to the account of the siege of 
Bedford by another contemporary writer. The ano- 
nymous author of the Acts of King Stephen, says 
" The King having held his court during Christmas 
(at Dunstable) with becoming splendour, despatched 
messengers to Milo de Beauchamp, who by royal 
licence had the custody of the Castle of Bedford, with 
orders that he should hold the castle of Hugh, and do 
service to him instead of the King. If he readily 
obeyed this command he should have honour and 
reward, but if he withstood it in any manner, he was 
to be assured that it would be his ruin. On receipt of 
the royal message, Milo replied that he was willing to 
serve the King as his true knight and to obey his com- 
mands, unless he attempted to deprive him of the 
possessions which belonged to him and his heirs by 
hereditary right ; but if that was the King's intention, 


and lie endeavoured to execute it by force, lie would 
bear the King's displeasure as best he could ; and as 
for the castle, he would never yield it unless he was 
driven to the last extremity. Finding how things 
stood, the King's indignation was roused against Milo, 
and he raised an army from all parts of England to lay 
siege to Bedford. Aware of his approach, Milo swept 
off all the provisions he could lay his hands on, making 
violent seizures both from the townsmen and the in- 
habitants of the neighbourhood, with whom before he 
had been on good terms, as belonging to his lordship. 
These supplies he stored in the castle, and securely 
closing the gates he for this time excluded the King's 
people without any loss on his own side. The King, 
however, after carefully reconnoitring the fortifications, 
placed under cover bands of archers at convenient posts, 
with directions to maintain such a constant discharge 
of arrows against those who manned the battlements 
and towers, as should prevent them keeping a good 
lookout and hold them always in a state of confusion. 
" Meanwhile, he exerted all his energies to have 
engines constructed for filling the trenches and 
battering the walls. All that skill and ingenuity, 
labour and expense could compass was effected. 
Night watches were posted at all the castle gates to 
prevent any communication by the besieged with their 


friends without, or the introduction of provisions or 
necessaries within the fortress. By day every means 
were employed to distress and annoy the enemy. But 
the castle stood on a very high mound, surrounded 
by a solid and lofty wall, and it had a strong and 
impregnable keep, containing a numerous garrison of 
stout and resolute men, so that the expectation of soon 
taking it proved abortive, and the King having other 
affairs on his hands which required immediate 
attention, withdrew, leaving the greater part of his 
army to carry on the siege, with orders that in case 
the engines could not effect the reduction of the place, 
a blockade should be maintained till want and hunger 
compelled its surrender. After the King's departure 
the besieging army continued their hostilities, till the 
garrison, having exhausted their provisions and finding 
their strength failing, confessed that they could hold 
the place no longer, and therefore surrendered it to the 
King according to the laws of war." 

Now, in this circumstantial account we hear only 
of Milo, and there is no hint as to his parentage ; but 
he is spoken of as the holder of Bedford Castle under 
the King, and as the then head of the family defending 
his inheritance for himself and his heirs. If he had 
brothers with him, which Orderic's language implies, 
they must have been younger sons of Robert the 


Viscount and Milo his successor ; in wliich case, how 
was he related to the nameless daughter of Simon, the 
wife of Hugh de Mculcnt, surnamed "the Poor," 
Earl of Bedford ? A word, by the way, of this 
surname, the explanation of which is clearly given by 
the author of the " Acts of King Stephen " in a subse- 
quent passage in his history, though no modern writer 
appears to have paid attention to it. 

The reader is told that King Stephen bestowed the 
earldom of Bedford on Hugh, surnamed the Pauper, 
and naturally imagines that the said Hugh was raised 
by the munificence of his sovereign from a state of 
poverty to rank and affluence. The case, however, is 
exactly the reverse, for thus says the author just 
quoted : " Hugh, also surnamed ' The Pauper,' who 
by royal licence possessed the earldom of Bedford, 
after the expulsion of Milo de Beauchamp, conducted 
his affairs with so much negligence, like the careless 
and effeminate man he was, that, willing or not will- 
ing, he gave up the task to Milo, becoming by the 
righteous judgment of God, from an earl a simple 
knight, and from that shortly a penniless man" It 
was not, therefore, Hugh " the Poor/' or " the Pauper" 
who was made the Earl of Bedford, but Hugh de 
Meulent, third son of Robert Earl of Leicester, by a 
daughter of the great house of Vermandois, a man of 


noble birth, who being created Earl of Bedford, 
reduced himself by his own folly and effeminacy to so 
miserable a condition as to acquire the appellation 
which has been associated with his name for seven 
centuries, and not unnaturally misled our later 
annalists and annotators.* 

Still we are unable to affiliate Milo, who, whether 
the son of Hugh or Robert de Beauchamp, must, if the 
above account can be depended upon, have been 
in 1137 in possession of the patrimonial estates, 
including the Castle of Bedford, for which he was 
commanded thenceforth to do homage to Hugh de 
Meulent instead of to the King. Pagan, to whom 
the barony of Bedford was given by William Rufus, 
must then have been dead ; but as he left issue by his 
wife Rohesia two sons, Simon and Pagan, the eldest of 
whom confirmed the gifts of his mother, the Countess 
Rohesia, to the Priory of Chicksand, and to the 
Abbey of Newenham, founded by his father, and 
was sheriff of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire in 
the reign of Richaxd I., it is in our present state of 
information impossible to account for the position of 

* The intelligent English translator of Orderic even observes in a 
note (vol. iv., p. 195), " Nor was it any wonder that the sons of Roger 
(Robert ?) de Beauchamp should oppose the alliance of their cousin- 
german with a person of such mean substance as this Hugh." An 
altogether gratuitous assumption. 



Milo and the language attributed to him. He appears 
to have been living in the reign of Henry II., when, 
with consent of Pagan, his heir (not his son, observe), 
he gave a mill at Bedford to the monks of 

But I must hasten to the line of Beauchamp of 
Ehnley, from which sprang all the most distinguished 
personages of this proud and potent family. Here 
again we are met with the same difficulty at starting, 
for no one has yet been able to show the relationship 
of Walter, the earliest known of this branch, to Hugh, 
the companion of the Conqueror, or to Kobert the 
Viscount of Arques. We first hear of him as the 
husband of Emmeline, daughter of Urso d'Abetot, 
and sister of Roger, who, for slaying a servant of King 
Henry L, was banished the realm, and all his estates 
given to his brother-in-law, this Walter de Beauchamp 
.(then called of Bedford), with the office of Dispensator 
Regis, which Robert, the brother of Urso, had for- 
merly held ; and the shrievalty of Worcestershire to 
hold as freely as Urso had done, confirming also to 
him the lands given him by Atheliza, the widow of 
Urso. Making Elmley Castle in Worcestershire his 
chief residence, he and his descendants were thence- 
forth known as Beauchamp of Elmley. 

William, the fourth in descent from Walter, married 


Isabel, sister and heiress of William cle Mauduit, Earl of 
Warwick, who brought with her the honours and 
estates of that noble family to swell the fortunes of 
the already powerful and affluent one of Beauchamp. 
Henry, the sixth earl in descent from William, was 
created Duke of Warwick by King Henry VI. in 
1444, and by the marriage of his sister Anne with 
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, he became Earl of 
Warwick in right of his wife, and is well known to 
every schoolboy as " the King Maker." 

From the same William descended the branches of 
Alcester and Powick, and the co-heiresses of Richard, 
last Lord Beauchamp of Powick, carried the repre- 
sentation into the families of Willoughby de Broke 
and Lygon, ancestors of the present Earls of Warwick 
and Beauchamp. As in my previous memoir of Nevil, 
I must express my regret that I am debarred from 
even briefly describing the interesting events and 
gallant exploits of the most important members of 
this family : of Guy Earl of Warwick not the 
legendary killer of the Dun Cow, but the valiant 
leader in the battle of Falkirk, " The Black Dog of 
Arden," as he was called by Piers Gaveston, an insult 
which cost that unworthy favourite his life upon the 
Hill of Blacklow. 

Of John, son of that Guy who bore the royal 


standard at Cressy, and was one of the founders of 
the most noble Order of the Garter, or of Richard, 
an account of whose magnificent array and knightly 
prowess in the celebrated jousts at Calais would of 
itself occupy more space than the longest notice I can 
afford to give to the most important companion of the 
Conqueror, I cannot venture to speak. I must even 
apologise to the general reader for the genealogical 
details which I have been led into by the imperfect 
and perplexing pedigree of the early Barons of Bedford. 


The name of Percy, strange to say, does not occur 
in the Roll of Battle Abbey ; for I cannot agree with 
my old friend Sir Bernard Burke in his discovery of 
it in Percelay, a form in which I have never found it 
in any authority. Strange, because in view of the 
numerous interpolations it contains, one can scarcely 
imagine the omission of a name so distinguished in 
Anglo-Norman history. But for those manifest addi- 
tions the fact of the absence of the name of Percy 
would go far to establish the genuineness of the Rolls, 
as no member of that family appears to have fought 
at Senlac, and William dc Percy must be placed in 
the list of those noble Normans who " came over with 
the Conqueror "on his return to England in 1067, 


amougst whom I have already mentioned Roger de 
Montgoineri and Hugh d'Avranches. 

William de Percy was the sworn brother-in-arms of 
the latter, and accompanied him to England,* and who 
on being made Earl of Chester transferred to him the 
lordship of Whitby, with the extensive domains 
attached to it in the East Riding of Yorkshire. By 
what service he obtained the vast possessions held by 
him at the time of .the general survey we have no 
information, an old manuscript, quoted by Dugdale, 
simply saying that, " being much beloved by the 
King," he enjoyed them through his bounty, and it is 
not till we arrive at the reign of Stephen that we hear 
of any remarkable actions attributed to his descend- 
ants, when his great-great-grandson, William de 
Percy, distinguished himself by his valour in the 
famous battle of the Standard. 

The name of this ancient and noble family was 
derived from their great fief of Perci, near Villedieu, 
in Normandy, and according to tradition they were 
the descendants of one Mainfred, a Dane, who had 
preceded Rollo into Neustria. Geoffrey, the son of 
Mainfred, followed him in the service of Rollo, and 
was succeeded in rotation by William, Geoffrey, Wil- 
liam, and Geoffrey, all born in Normandy, the latter 

* Mon. Ang., vo 1 . i., p. 72. 


Geoffrey being the father of William de Percy, the 
subject of this notice, and of Serlo, his brother, the 
first abbot of Whitby, a monastery founded by William 
on the site of one called Skinshale, which had been 
destroyed by Inguar and Hubba. 

Upon this abbey William bestowed the towns of 
Seaxby and Everley ; but resumed and regranted them 
to Ealph de Everley, his esquire, who had been in his 
service many years. 

Abbot Serlo, his brother, feeling injured by this 
proceeding, made his complaint to William Eufus, with 
whom he had been on terms of intimacy during the 
reign of his father, and the King ordered restitution to 
be made. Serlo, however, was not satisfied with the 
restoration of the towns, and having no confidence in 
his brother, determined to quit Whitby and establish 
himself where he should hold under the King only, 
and be out of his brother's power. He therefore 
legged of Rufus six carucates of land in Hakerias and 
Northfield, and translated thither part of the commu- 
nity of Whitby. 

William de Percy married a lady named Emma de 
Port, " in discharging of his conscience," says our 
ancient writer, she being " very heire " to the estates 
given to him by William the Conqueror, and in 1096 r 
having joined the first Crusade in company with 


Eobert Court-heuse, died at Montjoye, near Jerusalem, 
the celebrated eminence so named by the Christian 
Pilgrims, because from there they first caught sight 
of the sacred city. His body was brought back 
to England, and buried in the chapter house at 

This Anglo-Norman race of the Percys became ex- 
tinct in the male line at the close of the 12th century 
by the deaths, without issue, of the four sons of his 
grandson William, when this great inheritance was 
divided between their two sisters and co-heirs, Maud, 
wife of William de Mauduit, Earl of Warwick, who 
died without issue, and Agnes, on whom the whole 
possessions of the Percys in England devolved, and 
passed with her hand to Joceleyn de Louvaine, brother 
of Adeliza, Queen of Henry L, who assumed the name 
of Percy, retaining the arms of his own family. 

From the issue of this marriage descended those 
great Earls of Northumberland and Worcester, whose 
deeds and fortunes are interwoven with the most im- 
portant portions of our history from the reign of 
Henry III. to that of Charles IT. 


Here we have a companion of the Conqueror who 
fought and fell at Senlac one of the very few recorded 


to have done so a most remarkable fact, for surely 
the names of men who died in the hour of victory 
were as deserving of commemoration as those of the 
survivors. That a list of the killed, if not of the 
wounded, should not have been specially drawn up, 
and preserved " in memoriam " by the pious monks of 
Battle, or, at any rate, distinguished by some mark in 
the Koll, is to me incomprehensible, in days, too, when 
mortuary Rolls were compiled in nearly every mon- 
astic establishment. I cannot help thinking some such 
document has unfortunately perished, although the 
silence of Wace and of all other chroniclers respecting 
the slain at Senlac may be adduced in proof of the 
little regard paid at that period to the subject. 
Robert Fitz Erneis, the only Norman mentioned by 
Wace as having fallen in battle was, as his name 
imports, the son of Erneis, a collateral descendant of 
the family of Taisson, by his wife Ha wise, sister of 
Fulk d'Aunou. His death is thus described by 
Wace : " Robert Fitz Erneis let fall his lance, took 
his shield and galloped towards the standard, 
sword in hand, hewing down with its trenchant 
blade an Englishman who stood before it, and, 
fighting his way through many others, reached the 
standard, and endeavoured to cut it down, but the 
English surrounded it, and killed him with their 


guisarmes.* He was found on the spot, when they 
afterwards sought for him, lying dead at the stan- 
dard's foot." 

He married a lady named, like his mother, Hawise, 
and had a son called after himself Eobert Fitz Erneis, 
who, in a charter printed in Gallia Christiana (vol. ix. 
Instrumentum, 334), mentions his father's death : 
" Eodem vero Patre meo in Anglia occiso." 

" William Patric de la Lande called aloud for King 
Harold, saying that if he could see him he would 
appeal him of perjury. He had seen him at La 
Lande, and Harold had rested there on his way 
through, when he was taken to the Duke, then at 
Avranches, on his road to Brittany. The Duke made 
him a knight there, and gave him and his companions 
arms and garments, and sent him against the Bretons. 
Patric stood armed by the Duke's side, and was much 
esteemed by him." (Rom. de Ron, 1. 13,723.) Thus 
far Wace : but the correctness of his account has been 
questioned by Le Prevost, who considers it contradic- 
tory to the evidence of Guillaurne de Poitiers, who 
says the Duke received Harold at Eu, and also of the 

* A fearful weapon, combining a pike and a curved blade like that 
of a reaping nook. Several may be seen in the Tower. No such 
weapon, however, is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestiy. 


Bayeux Tapestry, which represents Harold being 
surrendered to the Duke of Normandy by the Count 
of Ponthieu in person, observing also that the Duke 
did not send Harold against the Bretons, but took him 
with him. This is rather hypercritical, and the whole 
story of this campaign is one of the most confused in 
the annals of Normandy, no light being thrown upon 
it by those of Brittany. Duke William, contem- 
plating the war with Conan, might have been at 
Avranches, on the borders of Brittany, when the news 
of Harold's captivity reached him ; and the demand 
for his release despatched thence to Count Wido, 
William, with his usual rapidity of action, following 
almost on the heels of his messenger to Eu ; on the 
frontier of Ponthieu, to receive the Saxon prince, or 
enforce his demand if not promptly complied with. 

La Lande Patry is in the arrondissement of Dom- 
front, not far from Avranches, and its lord may 
have first seen Harold when passing with the Duke 
to Avranches, on their road to Brittany, instead of on 
his journey from Beaurain. There is no point of 
importance involved in this little discrepancy. 

The time and place of William's bestowal of knight- 
hood, and giving arms to Harold, is a question of 
more interest, as the fact represented in the Bayeux 
Tapestry is distinctly stated by Wace in the passage 


I have quoted to have occurred at Avranches pre- 
vious to the setting out of the expedition ; and I am 
inclined, with all due deference to the contrary 
opinion of Mr. Freeman, to believe such was the case. 
Harold, when embarking with hawk and hounds on 
a pleasurable excursion, was not dreaming of warfare, 
and was consequently unprovided with armour. It 
was a positive necessity to present him with helm and 
hauberk, shield and lance, before he entered the 
enemy's country, and simultaneously with the bestowal 
of that Norman knighthood, which, while ostensibly 
an honour, was one of the toils in which the artful 
Duke entangled his captive guest.* William Patry 
de la Lande, one of the Duke's vassals whose fief was 
nearest to the enemy's frontier, would naturally have 
been summoned to join his suzerain with whatever 
power he was bound to bring, and was most probably 
a witness of the ceremony when, according to the 
usual formula, Harold must have taken the oaths of 
chivalry. It is equally probable, as we are assured, 

* The position the representation of this incident occupies in the 
Bayeux Tapestry cannot be used as an argument in favour of the 
opinion expressed by Mr. Freeman, as chronological order is not in- 
variably observed in that valuable relic. For instance, the funeral of 
Eil ward the Confessor precedes his death ; and I have also to observe 
that the figure of Duke William giving arms to Harold appears to 
have been squeezed, if I may so express myself, into that portion of 
the Tapestry, as though the insertion had been an after-thought 
the correction of an omission in the nearest place available. 


that Patry was particularly a favourite with his Duke, 
and that he was also a witness to the oath said to have 
been taken by Harold somewhere or other, for no two 
authorities are agreed, by which he bound himself to 
be " William's Man," and to acknowledge his right 
to the crown of England on the death of King 
Edward the Confessor. Who then so likely to accuse 
Harold of perjury as the Lord of La Lande Patry ? 

His name may be indicated by "De la Lande" in 
the Roll of Battle, and another catalogue, but history 
is silent respecting him or his descendants subsequent 
to the Conquest, and I have nothing to add to the 
brief but suggestive notice of him by the Canon of 





IT is with great diffidence that I offer any observa- 
tions whatever on this very mysterious family, from 
whom so many of the noblest houses in England claim 
a descent. 

Wace enumerates amongst the combatants at 
Senlac, " William ki Ton dit Crespin," and he has 
previously mentioned " Gil ki done gardont Tillieres," 
who, if not the same personage, must have been one 
of the family, and is presumed by M. le Prevost to 
have been Gilbert Crispin, second of that name, 
brother, according to some genealogists, of William, 
who was Seigneur de Bec-en-Caux, and whose name 


appears in charters of the dates of 1080 and 1082. 
But if brothers, of whom were they the sons ? 

The late Mr. Stacey Grimaldi, who considered himself 
a collateral descendant of the family of Crispin, or 
Crespin as indifferently written, took great pains to 
establish the fact, and published in the " Gentleman's 
Magazine" for October, 1832, a pedigree, founded on 
his researches, differing from that set forth in the 
appendix to the works of Lanfranc by D'Achery. His 
son, the Rev. Alexander B. Grimaldi, of Eastry, Kent, 
has most kindly intrusted to me what I may call the 
working papers of his father ; but unfortunately they 
do not throw sufficient light on the point in question. 
Mr. Stapleton, in his illustrations of the Norman Rolls 
of the Exchequer, only deals with the later genera- 
tions, and Le Prevost, in his notes on Wace, simply 
makes a statement differing from that of Mr. Grimaldi, 
without citing any evidence in support of it. 

According to the latter, Crispinus, Baron of Bee, 
was the son of Crispina, daughter of Rollo, by 
Grimaldus, Prince of Monaco. By his wife Heloise 
of Guynes and Boulogne, Crispinus had five sons, one 
of whom, Rollo, was the father of Goisfrid cle Bee or 
Marescal, and Toustain Fitz Rou, the standard-bearer 
at Hastings. Another, named Gilbert Crispin, first suc- 
ceeded his father as Baron of Bee, and had three 


sons, William, Gilbert, and Milo, all present at 
Hastings. The usual provoking omission of the 
names and families of the wives of these noble 
Normans renders it impossible to verify their descent, 
and deprives genealogy of half its interest. In this 
particular case it is exceedingly deplorable, as any 
information respecting the female members of this 
family would tend to clear up the mystery still 
involving those of Malet, Lincoln, Roumare, Tanker- 
ville, and others, as I have already pointed out. 

We may fairly consider, however, that William 
Crispin I. was the son of Gilbert, Baron of Bee 
and Castellan of Tillieres, who defended that fortress 
against the French King Henry, and reluctantly sur- 
rendered it to him by command of the boy-duke 
. William at the commencement of his reign. Ac- 
cording to Pere Anselm, who quotes, however, no 
authority, his mother was Gonnor, sister of Fulk 
d'Aunou, the companion of the Conqueror. She was 
also the mother of four other children Gilbert, who 
succeeded his father as Baron of Bee; Robert, who 
died without issue ; and two daughters Emma, 
married to Pierre de Conde, and Elise, wife of Robert 

According to the same genealogist, William Crispin 
who fought at Senlac married, previous to 1077, 



Eva, the daughter of Simon de Montfort 1'Aumary, by 
whom he had William Crispin II., the doughty 
warrior at the battle of Bremule, and Gilbert, who 
became a monk in the Abbey of Bee, and eventually 
Abbot of Westminster. 

William Crispin I., the subject of this memoir, we 
have previously heard of as one of the victorious 
leaders in the murderous battle of Mortemer, 1054. 
He must have been a very young man at that time, 
and probably it was the first combat of consequence 
he had ever been engaged in. He was living in 
1082, when he witnessed the foundation charters of 
the Conqueror to the Abbeys of St. Stephen and the 
Holy Trinity, at Caen, and the confirmation of the 
privileges of the Abbey of Fontenville, in the same 
year, at the council held at Oistel, near Rouen. No 
particular exploit is recorded of him at Senlac, nor do 
we hear of his being employed in any military service 
either in England or Normandy after the Conquest. 
He was probably deceased before 1085, as his name 
does not appear in Domesday, Milo Crispin, a brother 
of his, according to Mr. Grimaldi, but not named by 
Pere Anselm, being at the time of the survey in pos- 
session of certain estates, some of which may have 
been granted previously to William. 

His brother Gilbert was probably, as already men- 


tioned, the personage "who held Tillieres " in 1066, 
and followed his feudal lord to England. He and 
Henry de Ferrers charged the English together, each 
having brought a large company into the field. All 
who opposed them were either killed or captured. 
"The earth trembled beneath them" (Rom. de Ron, 
1. 13,503). From him descended the Seigneurs de 
Tillieres, one of whom, Gilbert, presumably his son 
and heir, was the second husband of Eleanore de 
Vitre, afterwards wife of William Fitz Patrick, first 
Earl of Salisbury. 

Milo, the tenant in Domesday, is not attempted to 
be affiliated by Dugdale, and is altogether ignored by 
Anselm. I do not find him in any way alluded to by 
Wace as having been in the battle, and Mr. Grimaldi 
alone makes him a brother of William and Gilbert. 
Whoever he might be, he was a very substantial per- 
sonage, possessing no less than eighty-eight lordships 
in England at the time of the survey, and, by marriage 
with Maud, daughter of Robert d'Oiley, becoming Lord 
of Wallingford, in Berkshire, the castle whereof he 
made his principal seat. 

But I must now return to the sisters of William and 
Gilbert, one of whom, called by Anselm Elise, he 
marries to Robert Malet. This is important, if true, 
for in that case she may be the sister of William 

o 2 


Crispin, otherwise named Hesilia (Elisia ? ), mother, 
according to the pedigree in D'Achery, of the William 
Malet who fought at Senlac, and gave Conteville 
(however he came by it) to the Abbey of Bee. 

I have pointed out the curious association of the 
names of Heiieve, mother of the Conqueror, and Gil- 
bert Crispin. Is it probable that she survived Herluin, 
and married secondly Gilbert, Baron of Bee-Crispin 
and Castellan of Tillieres, and that Conteville passed in 
this way by his daughter, Hesilia or Elisia, to her son 
William Malet, who gives it, you observe, to the Abbey 
of Bee, and not to Gerstein, founded by Herluin ? 

We have no dates or evidence whatever of the 
marriage of Gilbert with Gonnor, or of their decease, 
and where there is so much confusion and incertitude 
a little speculation is perhaps allowable when pro- 
voked by evidence hitherto apparently disregarded. 
There is a charter of foundation of the priory of 
Chateauceaux, printed by Morice in his " Histoire de 
Bretagne," Preuves, torn, i., pp. 384-5, which contains 
some interesting information respecting a branch of 
the Crispin family to be identified. In English it 
would run thus : I, Gaufridus (Geoffrey or Godfrey) 
Crispin, Lord of Chateauceaux, for my salvation and 
the redemption of the soul of my beloved wife Mar- 
garet, and with the assent and authority of my 


brothers, Herluin, Onderic, Joscelin, and Ralph, &c. ; 
and the gift is witnessed by Theobald, his eldest son, 
the lady Girbergia, his mother, and Simon Crispin, 
his brother ; a William Crispin being also named in the 
charter. Le Prevost, in his notes to Wace, strenuously 
opposes the theory of Mr. Grimalcli, who derives 
Toustain Fitz Rou and Geoffrey de Bee from the same 
stock as the Crispins. "William Crispin," he says, 
" first of the name, Lord of Bee-Crispin, a celebrated 
barony which has given its name to the two com- 
munes of Notre Dame and of St. Martin du Bee- 
Crispin, near Montvilliers. This family has nothing 
in common with Toustain, standard-bearer to the Duke 
at Hastings, and originally of Bec-aux-Cauchois ;" the 
former being in the arrondissement of Havre, and the 
latter in that of Yveto. 

This is very authoritative, but requires some docu- 
mentary evidence for its support. In the charter to 
Chateauceaux we find a Gaufridus Crispin, who may 
be the brother of Toustain, though his name is not 
mentioned ; in which case Girbergia would be the 
wanting wife of Rollo. But unfortunately she is not 
named by Mr. Grimaldi, and Gaufridus does not name 
his father, so that we are still unable to decide that 

Toustain Fitz Rou is said to have been the grand- 


father of Walkelin Malet. I am weary of saying, " is 
said," but as that would take us two generations 
below the Conquest, I need not pursue that line or 
" bestow my tediousness " any further on the general 

I shall therefore conclude my notice of the Crispins 
by observing, that from Geoffrey de Bee, or Marescal 
of Domesday, Mr. Grimaldi derives the present family 
of Fitzwilliam. 



The Seigneur de Biarz is twice mentioned by Wace 
in his " Roman de Rou." First in company with 
Eichard d'Avranches 

" D'Avranchin i fu Bicharz 
Ensemble od li cil de Biarz " (1. 13,600-1). 

and subsequently thus 

" Des Biarz i fu Avenals" (1. 13,632). 

Which might or might not be the same person, or 
simply that there was more than one of that family in 
the Duke's army. "There were the Avenels of the 
Biarz." Les Biards being a bourg on the banks of the 
Selune, canton of Isigny, arrondissement of Mortaiii. 

The companion of the Conqueror is assumed by Le 
Provost to have been William Avenel, Seigneur des 
Biards, who was seneschal of Robert Comte de 


Mortain, the Duke's half-brother, and would therefore 
probably follow his lord to the wars. There is no 
reason, however, that one or more of his brothers (he 
appears to have had five) should not have accom- 
panied him. 

The name of Avenel does not occur in either of 
the Kolls of Battle Abbey, but it is included in 
Brompton's List, and the rhyming one of Leland. A 
sub-tenant of that name occurs also in Domesday, 
holding half a hide of land in the hundred of 
Cendovre, under Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of 
Shrewsbury ; but we trace no grants from the Con- 
queror to any one of the family in reward of their 
services at Senlac, a circumstance which excites the 
surprise of the authors of " Les Recherches," to whom 
we are indebted for many particulars of the early lords 
of the Biards or Es-Biards. 

According to Vincent de Beauvais, an historian of 
the thirteenth century, one Harold Avenel was the 
first of the family who settled in Normandy, whither 
he had accompanied Rolf, of whom he was a kinsman 
as well as of the Paynels, the Taissons, the Giffards, 
and others of Scandinavian origin, and his statement, 
though not always to be relied upon, is in this 
instance fairly supported by documentary evidence. 
In a charter by Hugues, the son of John de Roceto, 


A.D. 1035, granting to the Abbey of Marmoutiers the 
Church of St. Martin de Belesme, the gift is declared 
to be made with the consent of Odo, brother of 
Henry I. King of France, of Geoffrey Count of 
Anjou, Ivo Bishop of Se'ez, and of the grantor's kins- 
man, Herve de Braviard (Biuard, or Biard). In 
another charter, dated 1067, having reference to a 
dispute respecting the above donation, the name recurs 
of Herve, the kinsman of Hugues de Roceto, in con- 
j unction with that of a Sigemberg des-Biarz, appa- 
rently the son of Herve, who also seems to have been 
the father of Ormellinus, surnamed Avenellus, who, 
with the consent of his wife Avitia, in 1060 concedes 
a third of his rights on the Church of St Martin de 
Say.* Sigemberg des Biarz dying without male issue, 
we find the sons of his brother Osmellinus joining 
the name of Biarz to that of Avenel, borne by their 

We thus arrive at the epoch of the Conquest, when 
it appears that Sigemberg des Biarz was still living, 
and possibly Ormellinus his brother also, as he and 
his wife Avitia were benefactors to St. Martin de Say 
in 1060. Sigemberg if not too old might therefore be 
in the battle, and be the "Seigneur" de Biarz of 
Wace, distinguished from the " Avenels," his nephews, 
* Gall. Christ Instr., col. 1-53. 


none of whom could have succeeded to the lordship of 
Des Biards before 1067. 

These Avenels, sons of Ormellinus and Avitia were, 
as I have already intimated, six in number. William, 
the seneschal, selected by Le Prevost as the com- 
batant at Senlac; Ranulf, living in 1081 ; Joel, Abbot 
of La Couture in 1081 ; Walter, living in 1081, and 
Herve and Traslen, or Gradin, both living in 1106. 

William Avenel des Biarz in 1082, in conjunction 
with his brother, gave the Church of Ye'zens and the 
Priory of Les Biarz to the Abbey of La Couture in the 
diocese of Mans, of which his brother Joel was the 
fifth abbot ; and Eanulf, his other brother, caused the 
gift to be confirmed by his son and heir, Rainold 
Avenel, at that date in his childhood. The same 
William Avenel also witnesses the charter of Robert, 
Comte de Mortain, by which he founds a prebend in 
the college of St. Evroult for the priory of Mortain in 
10S8. His wife is unknown, but his sons by her were 
William, second of that name, Richard, Robert, and 
Hugh AveneL From William II. descended the 
Avenels of France, the elder branch of w r hich family 
terminated in the male line with the death of his 
great-grandson in the fourteenth century, whose 
daughter Guillenine brought the whole of the Barony 
des Biards to the house of Le Sotherel. 


How the Avenel of Domesday was connected with 
William the Seneschal, and from which of his brothers 
the English branch descended, remains yet undecided ; 
but an Avenel of Hacldon witnessed the foundation 
charter of the Priory of Linton in Nottinghamshire by 
William Peverel in the reign of Henry L, in com- 
pany with Henry de Ferrers, Ealph Ansleyn, and 

The same Avenel by his own charter granted to 
that priory two manors which formed part of his 
domain of Haddon. Another charter by William 
Peverel in the register of Lenton is witnessed by a 
William Avenel, and a Kobert Avenel subscribes the 
foundation charter of the Abbey of St. James at 
Welbeck ; and I am inclined to believe that Ranulf, 
one of the younger brothers of William the Seneschal, 
was the progenitor of the English Avenels. 

Vincent has transcribed a charter of William, the 
son of William Avenel, wherein he names Richard de 
Vernon and Simon Basset as the husbands of his two 
daughters and heirs, with whom they had lands in 
Haddon and Welbeck, and we obtain the name of the 
daughter who married Richard de Vernon from a 
charter of their son William de Vernon, who calls his 
mother Avicia Avenel, a family name which we can 
trace from the wife of Ormellinus in the eleventh 


century to the Avicia Avenel who married John 
Rollesly in the fourteenth. 

By the above charter we see how H addon passed 
from the Avenels to the Vernons. The romantic but 
authentic story of the flight of the fair Dorothy, 
daughter and co-heir of Sir George Vernon, with Sir 
John Manners, from Haddon Hall, has been told too 
often to call for repetition here, and is only referred to 
in illustration of the Norman descent of the Dukes of 
Rutland from Ormellinus, " qui cognominhabitus Ave- 
nellus," through the baronial house of Vernon, a scion 
of which also demands our notice, under the name of 


The Sire "d'Alnei" mentioned by Wace (Rom. de 
Ron, 1. 13,775) receives but little attention from either 
the French or the English commentators of the Norman 
poet, and they have made no attempt to identify him. 
There are several communes of that name in Normandy, 
one of which, Aulnay I'Abbaye, near Caen, belonged 
in the twelfth century to the family of Say, a 
member of which was present at Senlac ; Monsieur 
de Gerville mentions also a Laulne near Lessay, 
latinised de Alno, but I find no conclusive evidence as 
to the fief or locality from which the Sire d'Alnei of 
AVace derived his appellation. 


The continuator of Guillaume de Junaieges, however, 
enlightens us as to his parentage ; a point of more 
importance. As I have already stated, page 47 of 
this volume, he tells us that Fulk de Aneio (de 
Alneto, de Aneto, d'Anet, for it is spelt all manner of 
ways) was the son of Osmund de Centumville (i.e. 
Cotenville) by a niece of the Duchess Gonnor or 
Gunnora, and, according to the same authority, uncle 
of a Baldwin de Redvers. Osmundo de Centumville 
was Vicomte de Vcrnon, and a Hugh de Redvers, 
also called Hugh de Vernon, another uncle of the 
same Baldwin, made grants to Brumore in 1089. 
That members of the latter family were indiffer- 
ently called De Rivieres and De Vernon many 
proofs could be adduced, showing that they were of 
the same stock, assuming the names of their own fiefs 
for distinction, as in the instance of the sons of Baudry 
le Teuton, to the great confusion of the genealogist 
and mystification of the readers of history. 

That Vernon was the general name of the descen- 
dants of Osmund, can, I think, be scarcely doubted. 
William de Vernon possessed the town and Castle of 
Vernon in 1052, a fief which had been held by Guy of 
Burgundy, on whom, in his youth, Duke William had 
bestowed it together with Brionne, but who lost both 
by his defeat at Val-es-Dunes in 1047. Brionne, we see, 


was given to Baldwin de Meules on the marriage of 

William and Matilda, and Vernon probably bestowed 

it on Osmund de Centumville when he became the 

husband of a niece of the fortunate Gonnor, Duchess of 

Normandy. William, probably his son, who was Sire 

de Vernon in 1052, had two sons, Walter and Eichard 

de Vernon, both of whom are stated to have followed 

Duke William to England.* That the name of Vernon 

appears in the Eoll of Battle, in the list printed by 

Duchesne, and the rhyming one of Leland, would be 

no corroboration of that statement ; but there is 

evidence enough that Richard de Vernon was one of 

the barons created by Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of 

Chester, by the title of Shipbroke, and a holder of large 

estates at the time of the general survey. There is 

consequently proof that, if not actually in the invading 

army, he was a distinguished Norman at that period, 

and is probably the Sire de Neahou whom Wace 

says was in the battle, as that fief, Neel's Hou or Holm, 

in the arrondissement of Valognes, passed from the 

Vicomtes de St-Sauveur to that of Reviers- Vernon, 

and in the red book of the Exchequer a Richard de 

Vernon is returned as holding the honour of Nehou 

by the service of ten knights, and having the custody 

of the Castle of Vernon. 

* The French catalogues add " Huard " de Vernon, a name hitherto 


I will not pretend to decide upon the exact relation- 
ship of Fulk d'Aulnay to William de Vernon, but 
that they were very near connections, if not brothers, 
I think cannot be well disputed. 

From a similarity of names, Fulk d'Aulnay has 
been confounded constantly with Fulk d'Aunou, of 
whom I have already discoursed (p. 132, ante). Even 
M. le Prevost has been partially misled by it. 

Beyond his presence in the battle, I have no 
information to give. Genealogy and history are both 
silent about him as far as I know. The name 
of De Alneto is of frequent occurrence in charters of 
the subsequent century. A Berenger d' Alneto sub- 
scribes the foundation charter of the Abbey of Aumale 
in 1115. Hubert de Alneto witnesses two charters of 
Henry I., and Roger de Alneto appears to be a relation 
of Gundred de Gournay, wife of Nigel de Albini ; but 
no link is discoverable between either of these and 
Fulk. Was he amongst the hundreds of unrecorded 
slain ? Did he fall in the fight for the standard, or 
was he slaughtered in the slough of the Malefosse ? 
A Simon d'Aneti or de Aneio, recorded in the red book 
aforesaid, is asserted by the authors of the " Recherches 
sur le Domesday " to be the recognized descendant of 
" Foulques d'Anet," but they have not favoured us 
with the materials for such recognition. 


I have said so much about the Vernons in this 
notice of one of the family that I shall not appropriate 
a separate article to them, as I could only repeat my 
suggestion, that if a De Vernon was present at Senlac, 
he was probably alluded to by Wace as the Sire de 
Nehou, a portion of which fief was certainly held by 
Kichard de Vernon when Wace wrote, and might have 
been held by him, under the Viscount of Saint- 
Sa'uveur, by military service at the time of the inva- 
sion, if indeed Nehou was restored to Neel after its 
forfeiture in 1047, at which period it was probably 
given to Baldwin de Eedvers who has been so 
frequently confounded with Baldwin de Meules, as I 
have instanced in my memoir of him (page 40, ante). 


Orderic has supplied us with plenty of material 
for a memoir of the family of St. Valeri, indifferently 
written Waleri and Galeri, so many of which were 
benefactors to his beloved Abbey of Ouche, otherwise 
St. Evroult, and, as the fleet of Duke William sailed 
from the port of St. Valery-sur-Somme, the bourg from 
which they took their name, it would be strange 
indeed if a " Sire de St. Galeri " had not been 
found in Wace's catalogue of the companions of the 


They did not, however, hold the fief of St. Valeri 
in their own right, but as hereditary advocates of the 
abbey, founded there by Lothaire in 613, in which the 
lordship was vested. To the devotion of the Duke 
and his barons to its patron saint, the Merovingian 
Walleric, and the solemn procession of the abbot and 
monks bearing the shrine which contained his holy 
relics, was attributed the favourable change of the 
wind for which William had so long waited. 

The Sires of St. Valeri were also connected by 
marriage with the ducal family, and could claim 
cousinship by blood with the Conqueror. Gilbert, 
the Advocate of St. Valeri, married Papia, daughter 
of Richard II. Duke of Normandy, by his wife, "more 
Danico," of that name. She bore to him two sons, Ber- 
nard and Richard. Of Richard, I shall speak hereafter. 
It is with his elder brother that we have first to deal, 
as he has been unhesitatingly named by M. le Prevost 
as the " Sire de Galeri " of the Norman poet, though 
upon what authority I have not been able to discover. 
Certainly not upon that of Orderic, who, provok- 
ingly enough, while most liberal in his information 
respecting Richard and his descendants, tells us 
nothing about Bernard except that he was the father 
of Walter de St. Valery, who w T as probably the Walter 
of Domesday, possessing at the time of its compilation, 


amongst other estates, tlie extensive manor of Isle- 
worth, in the county of Middlesex, but whether as 
the heir of his father, on whom they might have 
been bestowed by the Conqueror, or acquired by 
himself, either as a reward for service rendered to 
his sovereign or through some fortunate marriage, we 
are left to conjecture. 

If Bernard was really the companion of the Con- 
queror at Hastings and Senlac, the former solution of 
the question is most reasonable, and the possession of 
the domains by his son Walter has probably been the 
chief ground for Le Frevost's statement, which Mr. 
Taylor copies without observation, as well as for that 
of MM. de Magny and Delisle. Still it is rather 
extraordinary that the historian of the family should 
record the military services, the marriages and issue of 
Eichard and his sons, and make no mention of so in- 
teresting a fact as the presence of the elder brother 
Bernard in the expedition which sailed from his own 
port, and the famous victory in which it resulted. 

We must therefore content ourselves perforce with 
the assurance of Wace, that the Lord of St. Valeri, 
t and those he rode with, demeaned themselves like 
brave men, and sorely handled all whom their weapons 
could reach. We hear nothing of him after the Con- 
quest, and he was probably dead when Walter de 


St. Valery was found seized of the manor of Isle- 
worth. The latter was living in 1097, when, with his 
son Bernard, he was in the Holy Land, and fought 
under the banners of Bohemond in the great battle of 

But Walter de St. Valery was not the only one of 
the name who held lands in England at the time of the 

A Eanulf de St. Walerie was Lord of Randely, 
Stamtone, Refan, Stratone, Burgrede, and Scotome, in 
Lincolnshire, but how related to Walter does not 
appear. " What came of him or his posterity," says 
Dugdale, " if he had any, I know not, for those in the 
succeeding ages had not any lands in that county." 
u Those " being the issue of Reginald, son of Guy de 
St. Valerie, who held Hazeldine, in Gloucestershire, of 
which he was deprived by King Stephen, being a 
partizan of Henry Fitz Empress, but recovered it again 
on the accession of the latter, and who was one of the 
persons sent by him with letters to the King of France, 
requesting him not to give any reception or protection 
to the fugitive Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a 

That this Reginald was .a lineal descendant of Ber- 
nard and Walter is obvious from the fact that, on the 
death of his grandson Thomas, in 1219 (3 Henry III.), 


all his hereditary estates passed with Annora, sole 
child of Thomas, to her first husband, Robert Comte 
de Dreux, to whom at the same time she brought the 
manor of Isleworth, which Walter held in the reign of 
the Conqueror, and of which the Comte de Dreux was 
found seized in right of his wife in 1220.* 

Let us, however, before leaving this subject, hear 
what Orderic has to ay respecting Richard de St. 
Valery and his descendants. This second son of 
Gilbert and Papia was " long employed in the military 
service of his uncle, Richard Duke of Normandy, from 
whom he received in marriage Ada, widow of the 
elder Herleuin de Heugleville, with all her inheritance." 
Hence it appears he assumed, according to custom, 
the name of Heugleville, and built a town at a place 
formerly called Isnelville, on the river Sie, naming it 
from the hill which rose above it covered with beech 
trees, Aufay (Alfagium), thus acquiring a third appella- 
tion as the Lord of Aufay. He was distinguished for 
his military abilities and his great liberality -a formid- 
able foe and a faithful friend. During the minority 
of Duke William, when William of Arques revolted 
against him, and he was deserted by nearly all the 
Lords of Talou, Richard alone held his castle near the 

* Annora married secondly Henry de Sullie, but had no issue by 
either husband. Orderic makes no mention of Eanulf, Guy, or Eegi- 
nald in his account of the family. 

P 2 


Church of St. Aubin against the rebels, and exerted 
himself to defend the loyal inhabitants of the country 
from the inroads of the garrison of Arques. 

Now this Richard de Heugleville, Lord of Aufay, 
had a son named, as usual after his grandfather, 
Gilbert, who married Beatrice, daughter of Christian 
de Valenciennes, "an illustrious captain." This lady, 
Orderic tells us, was a cousin of Queen Matilda, and 
bore to her husband two sons and one daughter. 
Gilbert d'Aufay, as he was called from his patrimonial 
estates, was also, by his grandmother Papia, a kinsman 
of Duke William, and the same author affirms that " he 
fought by the Duke's side at the head of his vassals 
in all the principal actions during the English War." 

That he included the most important of all is, I 
think, evident from the passage which follows : "But 
when William became King, and peace was established, 
Gilbert returned to Normandy, notwithstanding Wil- 
liam offered him ample domains in England, for with 
innate honesty of character he refused to participate in 
the fruits of rapine. Content with his patrimonial 
estates, he declined those of others, and piously devoted 
his son Hugh to a monastic life under Abbot Mainer, 
in the Abbey of St. Evroult," 

The name of St. Valery is only to be found in 
Brompton and the modern lists, and that of Aufay no- 


where. In deference to M. le Prevost, who may have 
had grounds for his opinion which he has omitted to 
cite, I have headed this memoir with the name of 
Bernard as the " Sire de St. Galeri " mentioned by 
Wace ; but it is quite possible that the Lord of Aufay 
may have been designated by his original patronymic, 
and he is the only member of the family of St. Valery 
who appears indubitably to have been a companion of 
the Conqueror. 


There may be, it seems, a question whether by 
"d'Oillie" (Rom. de Rou, 1. 13,659) the author means 
one of the many u Ouillies " to be found in the arron- 
dissement of Falaise, or Ailly, near Centibo3uf ; but 
whatever doubt there may be respecting the locality 
from which this valiant Norman derived his name, 
there is none as to his having been at Senlac, and 
rewarded for his services there with the baronies of 
Oxford and St. Waleries in England. He is simply 
mentioned as " cil d'Oillie " by Wace amongst some 
dozen of doughty knights, to whom no particular feat 
of arms is accorded; and unless we are to consider 
" Duylly " in Leland's alliterative list is intended for it, 
the name occurs in no catalogue of those who came in 
with the Conqueror one of the many proofs of the 
little dependence that can be placed on any. 


Eobert d'Oiley built the Castle of Oxford, and the 
collegiate church of St. John within the walls. He 
was also one of the witnesses to the foundation charter 
of the Abbey of Selby by King William, and at the 
time of the general survey possessed four lordships 
in Berkshire, fourteen in Herefordshire, seven in 
Buckinghamshire, three in Gloucestershire, and three 
in Northamptonshire, one in Bedfordshire, one in 
Warwickshire, and twenty-eight in Oxfordshire, in 
all sixty-one manors ; besides forty-two habitable 
houses in Oxford, and eight which then lay waste, 
with thirty acres of meadow land adjoining the wall, 
and a mill valued at ten shillings per annum of the 
money of that time. Being likewise Constable of 
Oxford, he had the full sway of the whole county, and 
was so powerful a baron that no one durst oppose him. 

With the King's consent he took possession of a 
large meadow near the Castle of Oxford which 
belonged to the monks of Abingdon, who, being sorely 
aggrieved by this act, came in a body before the altar 
of our Lady, and prostrating themselves, prayed with 
tears to God that He would avenge the injury. Where- 
upon, says Dugdale, it shortly after happened that 
D'Oiley fell into a grievous sickness, but continued im- 
penitent until one night he dreamed that he was in a 
royal palace, where, amongst many nobles standing 


about it, was a glorious throne, on which sat a 
beautiful person habited like a woman, and before her 
knelt two monks of Abingdon whom he knew, and 
who, when they saw him enter the palace, said with 
deep sighs to the Lady, " Behold this is he who 
usurpeth the inheritance of thy church, having taken 
away that meadow from us for which we make this 
complaint/' The Lady, much moved, commanded 
that he should be thrust out of doors and taken to 
that meadow, there to be tormented. Two young 
men who stood near immediately seized and led him 
to the meadow, where they made him sit down, and 
he was forthwith surrounded by divers ugly children 
with loads of hay upon their shoulders, who laughingly 
said to each other, "Here is our friend, let us play 
with him ! " Upon which, setting fire to the hay, 
they smoked and burned him till in his anguish he 
called out aloud, " blessed Lady ! have pity upon 
me, for I am dying ! " His wife, much alarmed, 
exclaimed, " Awake, sir, for you are much troubled in 
your sleep," and being thus aroused, he answered, 
" Yes, truly, for I was amongst devils ! " " The Lord 
preserve thee from all harm ! " ejaculated his pious 
and affectionate helpmate, and on hearing his dream, 
consoled him with the text, " Whom the Lord loveth 
he chasteneth." 


At her instance, to quiet his conscience, he shortly 
afterwards repaired to Abingdon, and there, before the 
altar, in presence of Abbot Reginald and the whole 
convent, as well as of many personal friends, he gave 
to the community the lordship of Cadmerton, value 
ten pounds per annum, solemnly protesting that he 
would never meddle more with any of their posses- 
sions. He also presented them with more than a 
hundred pounds in money towards the reconstruction 
of their monastery, in atonement for the wrong he had 
done them. Moreover, he amended his ways for the 
rest of his life, repairing divers churches both within 
and without the walls of Oxford, becoming very 
charitable to the poor, and amongst other good works 
building the great bridge there. 

I have told this silly story (omitting some little 
coarseness), as I have told others of the same nature 
in the course of this work, in illustration of the 
childish superstition by which men of the most un- 
daunted courage fierce, proud and powerful men 
were weak enough to be enslaved. Some of these 
tales were doubtless subsequent inventions by the 
monks themselves, while others are veritable descrip- 
tions of "pious frauds" practised by them on the 
sick or the dying, for the purpose of augmenting their 
funds or increasing their influence. At the same time 


it is singular to observe the simple good faith with 
which truly religious and honest writers, such as 
Orderic, testify to the veracity of the most prepos- 
terous narrations on the grounds of their having heard 
them from the very lips of the persons who have been 
favoured with such miraculous manifestations. 

However unworthy of credit they may generally be, 
there are few that do not afford us peeps into past 
manners and customs, pictures of the inner life of our 
ancestors, and incidental information on a variety of 
subjects formerly considered beneath the notice of the 
historian, but of which the value has within the last 
fifty years been discovered and acknowledged by the 
most eminent authors of France, England, and Ger- 
many. One of the results recorded by the monks of 
Abingdon of the dream of Robert d'Oiley if ever he 
had such a dream was the building of the first great 
bridge at Oxford ; the earliest information we possess 
upon the subject, and which may be depended upon, 
whatever doubt may be entertained of the veracity of 
the vision. 

The exemplary wife of Robert d'Oiley was the 
daughter and apparently heir of "Wygod of \Yalling- 
ford, " a person of great note in that age," by whom 
he had an only daughter named Maud, the wife first 
of Milo Crispin, and secondly of Brien Fitz Count, to 


Avhom she brought the whole barony of Wallingford, 
but having no issue, both she and Brien betook them- 
selves to a religious life, whereupon King Henry I. 
seized Wallingford and appropriated it to his own 

Robert d'Oiley leaving no male issue was succeeded 
\)y his brother Nigel, whose son and successor, Robert, 
married the beautiful Edith Forne, mistress of Henry I., 
and by that king mother of Robert, Earl of Gloucester. 
There is a little bit of mediaeval gossip about this lad}', 
which professes to account for the foundation of the 
Abbey of Oseney, near Oxford. The fair but frail 
Edith, having become the lawful wife of the said 
Robert d'Oiley, was in the frequent habit of strolling 
down from the castle to the banks of the Isis. The 
pleasure she derived from this innocent and healthful 
recreation was, however, considerably interfered with 
by the conduct of a colony of " chattcrpies," who had 
established themselves in a clump of trees by the side 
of the river, arid invariably on her appearance com- 
menced a most impertinent clamour, which it was 
impossible to mistake for flattery. Humiliated as 
well as irritated by this almost daily insult, she sent 
for a canon of St. Fridiswides in Oxford, named 
Randolph, a person of virtuous life, and her own con- 
fessor, and requested his advice on the matter. Of 


course lie suggested that the only mode of escaping 
the malicious mockery of the magpies was to clear 
away the trees and build some religious house upon 
the spot, which she immediately entreated her husband 
to do, who kindly consented, and thereupon erected 
and founded the Abbey of Oseney for black canons of 
the order of St. Augustin, and, with the consent of his 
two sons, Henry and Gilbert, richly endowed it with 
lands and other property, constituting Randolph (no 
doubt to his great surprise) the first prior. 

Margery, the elder of Robert's two granddaughters, 
co-heirs of their brother Henry, the last male of the 
D'Oileys, married Henry de Beaumont, Earl of War- 
wick, and has generally been accredited as the mother 
of his heir, Thomas Earl of "Warwick, and conse- 
quently ancestress of the Marshals and De Plessites. 
By a writ of " Novel disseisin/' llth of Henry III., I 
am inclined to believe Thomas was the son of 
Philippa, the second wife of Henry de Beaumont, who 
was daughter of Thomas, Lord Basset of Heddington, 
and has been hitherto said to have died without 
issue. Many erroneous descents have been recorded 
in these early pedigrees through the neglect of accu- 
rately ascertaining, in cases where a man has married 
two or more Avives, which lady was the mother of his 
heir. In the instance of Adeliza, sister of the Con- 


queror, we have seen her issue by each husband most 
perplexingly confounded. 


I shall conclude this chapter with a few lines con- 
taining all I have hitherto discovered respecting this 
personage, who is only known as the sworn brother- 
in-arms of Kobert d'Oiley, and who appears to be 
equally entitled with him to claim companionship 
with the Conqueror, yet I do not find his name in any 
roll or catalogue, nor can I detect him amongst the 
many unidentified leaders mentioned by Wace. That 
he is not a myth, however, is clear from the fact of 
his having received from Robert d'Oiley a large 
share of the spoil, and specially the honor of St. 
Waleries ; but whether he married or left issue does 
not appear. His patronymic would point to a descent 
from Ralph, Comte d'lvri, or Yvery (latinized Ibreio 
and Iberico), half-brother of Richard I., being the son 
of Sprote, mistress of William Longsword, Duke of 
Normandy, by Asperleng, the wealthy Miller of 
Yaudreuil, whom she married after the death of the 

Aubree or Alberade, wife of Count Ralph, built the 
famous Castle of Ivri. The architect was Larifred, 
whoso reputation transcended that of all the masters 

JEAN DTVEI. ' 221 

of his craft at that period. Having, with vast labour 
and expense, constructed a fortress unequalled in 
Normandy, the bright idea occurred to the lady that 
it should so [remain as far as Lanfred was concerned. 
In order, therefore, that his skill should not be exer- 
cised by an endeavour to surpass himself for the 
benefit of some other, perhaps hostile employer, she 
prudently had his head cut off as soon as his work 
was completed. The lady eventually suffered the 
same fate at the hands of Count Ralph, her husband, 
who, though he seems to have connived at her murder 
of the architect, considered her attempt to expel him 
from his own castle was an offence amounting to no 
less than treason, and made her pay the penalty of 
such high crime and misdemeanour. 

She had borne to him two sons, Hugh, Bishop of 
Bayeux, and John, Bishop of Avranches and after- 
wards Archbishop of Rouen. The name of John 
indicates some family connection between the Arch- 
bishop and the friend of Robert d'Oiley. There was 
also a Roger d'lvri, who was cupbearer to King 
AVilliam the Conqueror, and married Adeline, one of 
the daughters of Hugh de Grentmesnil, the founder 
of the Abbey of Ivri in 1071, and was probably the 
brother of John I. The father of Roger was Walernn 
d'lvri, who held one knight's fee in the bailiwick of 


Tencliebrai, in Normandy, by service of cupbearer 
to the Duke, so that the office appears to have been 
hereditary in the family ; also eight and a half knights' 
fees in the town and castle of Ivri. They were not 
lords of Ivri, but apparently hereditary castellans of 
the fortress until the close of the eleventh century. 

According to tradition, Count Ralph had Ivri given 
to him by Duke Richard, his uterine brother, in conse- 
quence of his slaying a monstrous bear when they 
were out hunting together. The fief appears to have 
passed from Ralph to Fitz Osbern, and in the second 
year of the reign of Rufus was in the possession of 
William de Breteuil. 

Ascelin Goel de Percival, son of Robert d'lvri, Lord 
of Breval, took the Castle of Ivri by surprise and 
delivered it to Robert Court-heuse. De Breteuil, un- 
willing to lose it, redeemed it from the Duke for fifteen 
hundred livres. Having recovered his castle, to punish 
Goel he deprived him of the hereditary right to its 
custody, and of everything he held in his lordship. 
The fierce Lord of Breval avenged himself by laying 
waste the whole neighbourhood. Aumari de Montfort, 
called Le Fort, having fallen in an inroad he was 
making on the lands of William de Breteuil, Richard, 
his brother, devoted himself to avenge his death, and 
joining his forces with those of Ascelin Goel, they 

JEAN D'lVEI. 223 

attacked and defeated De Breteuil in a pitched battle, 
taking him prisoner, and consigning him to a noisome 
dungeon, in which he lingered until Richard de Mont- 
fort relenting, succeeded, with the assistance of Hugh 
de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, Gervase de 
Neuchatel, and many others, in making peace between 
Ascelin Goel and his feudal lord and prisoner. Ac- 
cording to the terms of the treaty concluded at Breval, 
William de Breteuil gave his illegitimate daughter 
Isabel in marriage to Goel, and ransomed himself at 
the expense of a thousand livres of Dreux, besides 
horses, arms, and other property. With great sorrow 
he added also the impregnable Castle of Ivri. " The 
infamous freebooter," as Orderic calls Goel, " thus 
enriched, grew intolerably insolent, and enclosed his 
castle,* which was indeed a very den of thieves, with 
deep ditches and stout palisades, passing his life 
there in continued rapine and bloodshed. He had 
seven sons by his wife Isabel, who, as they grew in 
years, increased in wickedness, so that the cries of the 
widow and the destitute followed their evil deeds." 
Of these seven very bad men only three are known, 
Robert, lord of Ivri, Roger le Begue, and William Louvel 
(Lupellus, the little Wolf), ancestors of the Levels of 

* Breval, I presume, for Ivri was in no need of further defences. 
It was, as we have seen, a model fortress. 


Tichmarsh, the Lords Lovel of Kary, and the Percivals, 
Earls of Egmont. The introduction, therefore, of the 
name of Lovel in the Roll of Battle Abbey, Brompton's 
List, and the second list in Leland is completely un- 
justifiable, as William the son of Ascelin Goel, on 
whom it was first bestowed, could not have been born 
for at least thirty years after the Conquest. The 
same observation applies to that of Percival, unless 
a Sire de Percival can be found earlier than Ascelin 





" HE of Felgieres," says Wace, " also won great 
renown with many very brave men he brought from. 
Brittany." The absence of the baptismal name, as in 
so many other instances, is a serious obstacle to satis- 
factory identification. 

A Ralph and a William de Fougeres (de Filgeriis, 
as it is latinized) are found tenants in Domesday, 
but we have no evidence to show that the Ralph 
therein returned was the Raoul presumed to have 
been "Oil de Felgieres," as Wace writes it, alluded 
to in the above passage (" Rom. de Rou," 1. 13,496). 
Meen or Main II. was Baron of Fougeres in Brit- 
tany at the time of the Conquest, and not too old 
to have been himself in the expedition, being about 
the age of the Conqueror, having succeeded his father 



Alfred I. in 1048, and surviving the invasion of 
England some sixteen or seventeen years. By his 
wife Adelaide he had three sons Juthael, Elides or 
Odo, and Raoul. The two former died in his life- 
time without issue, and he was therefore succeeded by 
his younger son Raoul, circa 1084. So says Dom. 
Morice, in his "Histoire de Bretagne," and M. de 
Pommereul, who follows him in his History of the 
Barons of Fougeres ("1'Art de Verifier les Dates," 
vol. xiii. p. 270, edit. 1818). This would be fairly 
borne out by the date of Domesday, at which a Raoul 
is stated to hold certain lands in Surrey, Devonshire, 
Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. 

But then who was "William ? The first William de 
Fougeres that I can find mention of was one of the 
seven children of Raoul by Avoyse or Avicia, 
daughter of Richard de Bienfaite, and as he was 
certainly not the eldest son, Raoul being succeeded 
first by Meen III., who died without issue, and he by 
Henri I., the next brother, in 1137, "William, their 
younger brother, could surely not be of sufficient age 
to hold lands in England in 1085. There must be 
either some great confusion of dates or there was a 
"William de Fougeres unknown to Morice or his 
copyist. The account of Raoul is very vague. 

Long before he succeeded his father we are told 


he had given proofs of his valour, by following William 
Duke of Normandy to the conquest of England. By 
that prince he was put in possession of large terri- 
tories, out of which he made various donations to the 
Abbey of Kisle and to that of Savigny, which he 
founded in 1112. He confirmed the foundation of 
the Priory of the Holy Trinity by his mother, Ade- 
laide, and gave it, as well as the Church of Saint 
Sulpice at Fougeres, to the Abbey of Marmoutier. 
Subsequently he travelled to Eome, and passing by 
Marmoutier, confirmed all his previous gifts to it. 
He died in 1124, leaving by his wife aforesaid seven 
children Meen, Henri, Gauthier, "Robert, Guillaume, 
Avelon, and Beatrice. 

Now if these dates can be depended on, and they 
are not materially affected by any test I have been 
able to apply to them, it is not surprising that Le 
PreVost should doubt the presence of Eaoul at Hast- 
ings, between which event and that of his death there 
would elapse fifty-eight years. Still, allowing him to 
have been a young man of two-and-twenty in 1066, 
he would have been only eighty in 1124 not an 
improbable age for him to have attained, and we have 
no evidence to show that he did not do so. Unless we 
could prove that he was too young to fight at Senlac in 

1066, the benefit of the doubt must be accorded to him. 

Q 2 


He was therefore, we may conclude, the companion 
of the Conqueror and the tenant in Domesday : but 
this does not advance us a step in our knowledge of 
the William de Fougeres in the same record. He 
must have been born before 1066 to have held land in 
capite in 1085, and as "William, the son of Eaoul and 
Avicia, had certainly two if not four elder brothers, 
not counting the sisters whose births might have inter- 
vened, we must date the marriage of Eaoul as far back 
as 1060 at least, which would make a serious addition 
to the venerable age I have already accorded to 

We have two later Williams, who of course are 
quite out of the question, but whom I must mention, 
in order to correct a serious error in " 1'Art de Verifier 
les Dates," which its authors have been led into by 
Morice, tending to create the greatest confusion. 

Henri Baron of Fougeres, second son of Eaoul L, 
and brother of Meen, whom he succeeded, had, by his 
wife, Olive de Bretagne, three sons Eaoul, Frangal, 
and Guillaume. Eaoul, the eldest, succeeded his father 
as Eaoul II. The above writers give him two wives, 
and make him father, without distinguishing the 
mothers, of four sons Geoffrey, Juhel, Guillaume, 
and Henri the eldest of whom, they say, succeeded 
him. Mr. Stapleton has clearly shown that Geoffrey 


was not the son, but the grandson of Raoul II., being 
the only son of Guillaume (William) de Fougeres, 
who died in his father's lifetime, 7th June, 1187, 
leaving issue this Geoffrey, a minor at his grand- 
father's death in 1194, and inward to his great-uncle, 
Guillaume, and an only daughter, Clemencia, married 
first to Alain de Dinant, and secondly, to Ranulph 
Blondeville, Earl of Chester. 

There are many other inaccuracies involved with 
this in the account of Raoul and his family, but with 
them I have no business here. The important one 
affecting the pedigree of the Earls of Chester I could 
not pass without notice. The seal of William de 
Fougeres (Cotton. Charters, 52 A, 15) affords us an 
interesting example of " armes parlantes." The 
shield is simply charged with branches of fern 


" The Sire de Herecourt was also there riding a very 
swift horse, and gave the Duke all the aid he could." 
Rom. de Rou, 1. 13,769. La Koque, the French his- 
torian of the house of Harcourt, names the member of 
that family who accompanied William to England, 
Errand, and he has been followed by Pere Anselm 
and other genealogists. Le Prevost views him sus- 


piciously, and calls him a person little known, and 
much less authentic, than his father, Anchetil, or his 
brother Robert, the first Sire d'Harcourt of that name. 
I do not participate in these suspicions. I believe him 
to have been a veritable companion of the Conqueror, 
and shall adduce my reasons presently for taking a 
particular interest in him. 

The family of Harcourt, illustrious on both sides of 
the Channel, is fairly enough shown by La Roque to 
have descended from Bernard the Dane, Governor 
and Regent of Normandy, A.D. 912, and from the same 
stock he derives the Sires de Beaumout, Comtes de 
Meulent, the Barons of Cancelles and St. Paer, the Lords 
of Gournay and Milly, the Barons of Neubourg, the 
Viscounts of Evreux, the Earls of Leicester and War- 
wick, and many other French and English noble 

Turketil, Seigneur de Turqueville and de Tanqueraye, 
named circa 1001 in several charters concerning 
the Abbeys of Fe'camp and Bernay, is identical 
according to La Roque with the Thurkild or Thorold, 
Lord of Neufmarche-eu-Lions, the governor of the boy- 
Duke William, who was treacherously assassinated by 
the hirelings of Raoul de Gace (vide vol. i., p. 16), and 
was the second son of Torf, the son of Bernard. The 
wife of Turketil was Anceline, sister of Toustain, 


Seigneur de Montfort-sur-Risle, and their issue two 
sons, Anchetil and Walter, and one daughter, Leceline 
de Turqueville, who married "William, Comte d'Eu, the 
natural son of Richard L, Duke of Normandy. 

Anchetil, the eldest son, was the first who assumed 
the name of Harcourt, from the bourg of Harcourt 
near Brionne, and was present with his father, 
Turketil, at the confirmation of the foundation of the 
Abbey of Bernay, by Judith, Duchess of Normandy, 
in 1014. By Eve de Boessey, Dame de Boessey-le- 
Chapel, he had seven sons and one daughter, the eldest 
son being the Errand de Harcourt asserted to have 
been the companion of the Conqueror. 

We have no dates of births, marriages, or any other 
events which would assist us to form an idea of the 
age of Errand at the time of the Conquest. His 
father Anchetil must have been a mere child when he 
witnessed with his father the confirmation charter of 

His father was murdered shortly after 1035, and 
Anchetil must therefore have been of mature age in 
1066. Still, according to the genealogy, he survived 
his eldest son, and w T as succeeded by his second son 
Robert, who was living in 1100, and father of Philip 
Harcourt, Bishop of Salisbury, 1140. 

From Robert all is clear, but it is with his eldest 


brother Errand and his younger ones that we have to 
do. Why Errand should have been selected as the 
Sire d'Harcourt who fought at Senlac, if Robert had 
really been the man, is incomprehensible. The vice of 
ancient genealogists was the endeavour to exalt the 
character and exaggerate the valorous achievements 
of the ancestors of the family, to the extent even of 
inventing stories to account for armorial devices which 
they could not comprehend, or sobriquets they took 
no trouble to trace to their origin. Had Robert, who 
was Sire d'Harcourt when Wace wrote, been present in 
the battle, some tradition would surely have been pre- 
served in the family and eagerly recorded by its 

That Errand " is little known " is no reason for 
doubting his presence at Hastings. How many were 
there of whom we know nothing at all ? How many, 
I grieve to say, are named even in these pages of 
whom we know next to nothing ? That he should be 
less known than his father and brother is not at all 
surprising, as it is evident from the fact of Robert's, 
succession that Errand died during his father's life- 
time, leaving no male issue by his wife, who was of 
the family of Estouteville. 

Jean le Feron informs us that he returned to Nor- 
mandy in 1078, and probably died soon after, as from 


that period we hear no more of him. But I must 
have yet another word with M. le Pre'vost. He 
accuses the English genealogists of having fabricated 
an apocryphal affiliation in order to show that the 
English branch of the Harcourts came in with the 
Conqueror, and for this purpose have created a 
Gervase, a Geoffrey, and an Arnold de Harcourt, 
whom they pretend were all three present in the battle 
of Hastings ; and he adds, that according to La 
Roque it was Raoul, second son of Robert II., Baron 
de Harcourt, who being attached to King John, quitted 
France and became the second ancestor of the Har- 
courts of England. 

"We will not," he says in conclusion, "guarantee 
this assertion of a not very scrupulous historian, but 
we can affirm that those of the English genealogists 
are utterly false." 

Now disregarding the very strong language in 
which this learned and generally courteous gentleman 
has pronounced his opinion, he has made a singular 
mistake in accusing our genealogists of having created 
Harcourts in order to fabricate a pedigree. 

If there be any fabrication it is the work of his own 
countrymen, and we can only be blamed for believing- 
them. Pere Anselm, following La Roque, states that 
Anchetil had by his wife, Eve de Boessey, seven sons. 


Errand, Robert, Jean, Arnold, Gervais, Yves, and 
Renauld de Harcourt. 

Here are two, at any rate, out of the three laid at 
the door of the genealogist, and what proof that they 
are apocryphal ? What evidence to show that they 
were not at Hastings with their brother Errand? 
That an Arnoul de Harcourt was in England, and 
killed in a skirmish with the Welsh either in the 
mysterious battle of Cardiff in 1094, according to the 
Welsh Chronicles, or in some one of the other frays 
which have been mixed with it by the Norman his- 
torians, I think there can be little doubt. At all 
events, the name is not likely to have been invented 
by the Welsh, and there is nothing in the date to pre- 
vent his being the son of Anchetil, recorded by La 
Roque. It may be quite true that the Harcourts did 
not settle in England before the reign of John, but 
how does that prove that none of their ancestors 
fought at Senlac ? 


The important family of Paisnel, Painel or Paganell, 
as it is variously written in French or English docu- 
ments (latinised Paganellus), were Lords of Moustiers- 
Hubert, in the arrondissement of Lisieux. 


" Des Moustiers-Hubert Painals" 

is named by Wace in his "Roman de Ecu" 
(1. 13,630), in company with Avenel de Biarz and 
Kobert Bertram the Crooked, as killing many of the 

Le PreVost remarks that there are two ways of 
reading the above line " Hubert Paisnel of Mous- 
tiers," or " Paisnel of Moustiers-Hubert," and adopts 
the latter as the more correct, the Paisnels being the 
ancient proprietors of the district so called, a William 
Paisnel, who founded the Abbey of Hambie in 1145, 
making sundry donations to it derivable from his 
forest and castle of Moustiers-Hubert. He therefore 
suggests that the Painel of Wace was an earlier 
William, who is mentioned by Orderic as dying about 
the same time as the Conqueror. 

In the Roll printed by Leland of the noble Normans 
who came into England with William the Conqueror, 
absurdly represented as specially the followers of 
William de Mohun, the name occurs of Hubert 
Paignel ; but that is evidently only the copyist's 
interpretation of the language of Wace, and little 
-doubt can exist that it was the William Paisnel men- 
tioned by Orderic who was in the army at Hastings, 
and who subscribed a charter to the Cathedral of 
Bayeux in 1073. He is said by Orderic to have 


died " about the same period " as King William. It 
must have been a year or so before him, as Ralph 
Painel is the tenant in Domesday, holding forty-five 
lordships in 1085, and no mention is made of William, 
to whom he had succeeded either as son or brother. 
This Ralph founded, in 1089 (second William Rufus), 
the Priory of the Holy Trinity at York for nuns, on the 
site of a house for canons which had been destroyed 
by that devoted son of the Church, the Conqueror. 

Either Ralph, or his son Fulk Painel, married 
Beatrice, daughter and sole heir of William Fitz 
Ansculph, a probable companion of the Conqueror, 
and the possessor of vast domains in England at the 
time of the survey, the greater portion, if not all, of 
which she brought into the family of Painel, particu- 
larly her father's principal seat, Dudley Castle, in the 
county of Stafford, which was demolished in the reign of 
Henry II., in consequence of Gervase Painel, the then 
possessor, being in rebellion. 


The name of D'Aincourt is not mentioned by Wace, 
unless it has been derived from Driencourt, a 
suggestion thrown out by Mr. Taylor which I am by 
no means inclined to adopt, as the original name of 
Neufchatel-en-Bray was Drincourt (Driencuria), and 


we have evidence of a family of that name being in 
existence previous to the Conquest. In a cartulary 
of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity du-Mont-de-Eouen, 
under the date of 1030, the names are found of Kichard 
de Drincourt, Harold de Drincourt, and Hugh de 
Drincourt ; and Monsieur de la Mairie,* to whom we 
are indebted for this information, tells us also that a 
Sire de Drincourt, who accompanied Duke William in 
his expedition to England, was killed in the battle of 
Hastings, a circumstance which would account for his 
name not appearing in Domesday. The name of the 
place itself also gradually disappeared at the com- 
mencement of the twelfth century, being called " Le 
Neufchatel de Drincort," from a castle built there by 
Henry I. in 1106, and subsequently Neufchatel only. 
It would seem that the Sire de Driencourt slain at 
Senlac was the last of the family. 

The Aincourts derived their name from a parish in the 
Vexin-Normand, between Mantes and Magny so called, 
the patronage of which was given by one of the 
descendants of Walter to the Abbey of Bee. 

The services of Walter d'Aincourt, whatever they 
may have been, were rewarded by the Conqueror with 
the gift of fifty-five lordships in England, of which 

* Eecherches sur le Bray Normand et le Bray Picard. Tom. i., 
p. 233. 


Blankney in Lincolnshire was one, and made by him 
the head of his barony. 

Of his origin and antecedents no more is known 
than of his actions. Contemporary history is en- 
tirely silent about him. We do not find him 
engaged in any combat, intrusted with any office, 
employed on any mission, founding or endowing any 
monastic establishment, or even witnessing a charter, 
and might well doubt his having ever existed but for 
the enumeration of his possessions in Domesday, and 
the epitaph of his son William in Lincoln Cathedral, 
on a leaden plate found in his grave in the church- 
yard there. From that we learn that he was a kins- 
man of Eemi or Remigius, Bishop of Lincoln, who, 
according to Taylor's List, contributed a ship and 
twenty knights or men-at-arms to the fleet of Duke 
William, a fact that leads one to the conclusion that the 
lucky Walter owed his barony to the good offices of 
the bishop, and not to any merit of his own. 

His son William is stated in his epitaph to have 
been in some way descended from royalty. " Prse- 
fatus Willielmus regige stirpe progenitus." How 
provoking are these vague insinuations. The descent 
must have been through his mother, as the wording of 
the sentence expressly limits the honour to William, 
and not even her baptismal name is known to us. 


William died in the reign of Eufus, leaving a son 
and heir named Ralph, who was the founder of 
Thurgarton Priory. The male line became extinct in 
the twenty-first of Henry VI., by the death of Robert, 
uncle of William, last Baron d'Eyncourt, when 
Margaret and Alice, sisters of the said William, were 
found his heirs and carried the estates into the 
families of Cromwell and Lovel. 


Wace records, as forming one of a troop or company 
of Norman knights who charged together, " fearing 
neither stake nor fosse, and overthrowing and killing 
may a good horse and man," a certain " Sire de Val 
de Saire." M. le PreVost rather too hastily observes 
in a note on this passage : " Our author takes Val de 
Saire for the name of a lordship, while it is that of a 
canton in the peninsular of the Cotentin. The mis- 
take is still more extraordinary for him to have made, 
as that part of the province was well known to him." 

The commentator has himself fallen into an error. 
He seems not to have been aware that there was 
a noble Norman family of the name of Ansneville, 
derived from, or given by them to a parish in Val de 
Saire, of which they were the lords. 

The chronicle of the Abbey of St. Etienne at Caen, 


as well as the history of the Island of Guernsey, 
furnish us with the earliest information respect- 
ing the family of Ansneville. Previous to the year 
1050, some pirates from the Bay -of Biscay re- 
peatedly ravaged the Island of Guernsey, at that 
time belonging to Normandy, and finally established 
themselves there. The inhabitants not being able to 
eject them, applied to their Duke, William, for assist- 
ance. He was at that time at his favourite residence 
at Valognes, and immediately sent a force under the 
command of Samson d' Ansneville, who destroyed the 
forts built by the pirates, and drove them out of the 
island, to which they never returned. 

In 1061, according to an entry of that date in an 
Exchequer Koll at Eouen, Duke William gave to 
Samson d' Ansneville, " his esquire," and to the 
Abbey of Mont St. Michael, half of the Isle of 
Guernsey in equal portions, the said Samson d' Ansne- 
ville engaging for himself and his heirs to serve the 
Duke and his successors as esquires of the body 
whenever they came into the island, to pay ten 
livres for livery of the land, do homage, and perform 
all other services due to the Duke and the duchy. 

In 1066, at the time of the Conquest, and during 
the regency of Queen Matilda, a Seigneur d' Ansneville 
was Governor of the Val de Saire, and in Domesday 


occur the names of William and Humphrey Ansneville 
as subtenants, the former of Earl Roger cle Mont- 
gomeri in Hampshire, and the latter of Eudo Dapifer 
in Hertfordshire. 

The authors of " Researches sur le Domesday " 
assume that the Seigneur d' Ansneville, Governor of 
Val de Saire in 1066, was a brother of Samson, and 
that William and Humphrey were his sons, he Samson 
being deceased previous to the compilation of the 
survey. Without speculating upon the relationship 
to each other of these personages, I will only point 
out that the connection of the family of Ansneville, 
Anslevillc, Asneville, and Anneville, its latest form as 
now borne by the descendants in France, with the 
canton of Yal de Saire would fully justify Master 
Wace in designating the particular member of it in 
the Duke's army as a " Sire " (he does not say " Seig- 
neur") " de Val de Saire." 

In a more corrupted form the family name may be 
recognised in the Roll of Battle Abbey in Andeville, 
while in Brompton's List, by the amalgamation of the 
" de " with it, it becomes Dandevile (d'Aundevyle), 
under which it is familiar to us in England. 

Which of the Ansnevilles fought at Senlac I will 
not presume to guess ; but Samson was a contem- 
porary and a liegeman of the Duke, sworn to do him 



suit and service, and I have therefore placed his name 
at the head of this notice. 


Wace speaks of a Sire " de Crevecoeur," who, in 
company with those of Driencourt and Briencort, 
followed the Duke wherever he went in the battle. 

I think he might have spoken in the plural, for it 
is highly probable that two of the family were in the 
Duke's army. 

You have already heard of Hamon-aux-Dents, or 
"with the teeth," who was killed in the battle of 
Val-es-Dunes in 1045. He left two sons, the eldest 
Hamo or Hamon, who became Dapifer to King Wil- 
liam, and the second Robert, both of whom subscribe 
a charter of the Conqueror to the Abbey of St. Denis, 
at Paris. The latter appears to have died without 
legitimate issue before Domesday was compiled. 
Hamo, the Dapifer, was sheriff of Kent, and one of 
the judges in the cause between Lanfranc and Odo, 
Bishop of Bayeux. He had two sons, the eldest, 
Robert Fitz Hamon, a prominent personage in the 
reign of Rufus and of Henry I., the founder of Tewkes- 
bury and father of Mabel, wife of Robert de Caen, 
Earl of Gloucester. Of the second son, Hamo, nothing 


appears absolutely known, but I believe him to be the 
progenitor of that family of Crevecoeur, the last male 
of which, Hamon de Crevecoeur, married, temp. 
Richard I., Maude d'Avranches, the great heiress of 

But who then was the Sire de Crevecoeur who 
fought at Senlac ? We must hark back to examine 
that question. 

Hamon-aux-Dents was Lord of Thorigny and 
Creulli ; but, dying in rebellion, his estates would be 
forfeited, and we consequently find his grandson, 
Robert Fitz Hamon, coming over to England with 
Duke William, described as a young man, Lord of 
Astremeville, in Normandy,* a designation soon lost 
sight of in the great honour of Gloucester bestowed 

O o 

upon him by Rufus, his conquest of Glamorgan, and 
the lordships of a host of manors and castles seized or 
given to him by Jestin ap Gurgunt for his assistance 
against Rhys, Prince of South Wales, in 1091. 

His father is only known as Hamo the Dapifer, or 
" Hamo Vice-comes," holding certain lands in England, 
but not as the possessor of any seigneurie in Nor- 
mandy. Hasted, however, asserts that his family- 
name was Crevecoeur, implying, of course, his posses- 
sion of a fief of that name, Crevecoeur-en-Auge, in the 

* Dugdale, MOD. Aug. yol. i. p. 154. 

R 2 


arronclissement of Lisieux, which might have passed to 
his son Hamon, Robert succeeding to Astremeville. 

If Hasted had satisfactory authority for his assertion, 
and I have found nothing whatever to contradict or 
throw the least doubt upon it, Hamo the Dapifer 
must surely have been " the Sire de Crevecoeur " of 
the " Roman de Rou." Robert Fitz Hamon, we know, 
had no male issue but Hamon ; Fitz Hamon I take to 
be the father of the first Robert de Crevecoeur of whom 
we are cognizant, who, in 1119, founded the Priory of 
Leeds, in Kent, and had, by his wife Rohais, three 
sons, Adam, Elias, and Daniel, and a daughter named 

He was succeeded by Daniel, who, in the 12th of 
Henry II., on assessment of aid for the marriage of 
the King's daughter, certified to the possession of 
fourteen knights' fees " de veteri feoffemento," and 
his son and successor, another Robert, was the father 
of Hamon, the last of the race and name, who 
married the heiress of Folkestone. 


"Gil de Saie," mentioned by Wace (1. 13,712), is 
supposed to be Picot de Say, one of a family deriving 
their name from Say, near Argentan, the lords of 


which were vassals of Koger cle Montgomeri in 
Normandy, as well as subsequently in England. 

In 1060, Robert Picot de Say, Adeloyse his wife, 
their sons Eobert and Henri, and Osmelin de Say 
and Avitia his wife, were benefactors to the Church of 
St. Martin of Seez, and in Domesday we find Picot de 
Say registered holding under Earl Roger twenty- nine 
manors in Shropshire. In 1083 he was amongst the 
barons invited by the Earl to witness his foundation of 
the Abbey of Shrewsbury. He had probably followed 
his feudal lord to England in 1067, and would not, 
therefore, in that case have been at Senlac ; but, at 
the same time some of the family might have been 
in the invading army, and as Wace has represented 
Roger de Montgomeri as a leader in it, he would be 
likely to name one of his principal vassals as fighting 
in his company. Picot appears to have been the here- 
ditary name of the family, it being sometimes used by 
itself, as in the instance of Picot Vicecomes, or Picot 
of Cambridge, one of the founders of the Priory of 
Barn well, or with a baptismal name prefixed to it, as 
in that of Robert Picot de Say above mentioned. It 
it doubtful, however, whether the Picot of Cambridge 
was of the same family as Picot de Say, and it is the 
name of Say that is most prominent in Anglo-Norman 
history ; Enguerrand de Say having been a distin- 


guished warrior in the reign of Stephen and William 
de Say, and by his marriage with Beatrice, sister of 
Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, increasing the 
wealth and power of both families. 

A William de Say, the grandfather of that William, 
married Agnes, daughter of Hugh de Grentmesnil 
(see page 83, ante), and might have been in the 
battle with his father-in-law, as confidently stated in 
the pedigree of the Lords Say and Sele, who deduce 
their descent from him through the family of Fiennes, 
as do also the Dukes of Newcastle. 

The Pigots, or Pigotts, assume to be the descendants 
of the Norman Picots of Domesday, one family from 
the Shropshire and the other from the Cheshire branch. 
We have nothing, however, but probability to guide us 
in our attempt to identify the actual companion of the 
Conqueror indicated by Master Wace, nor have we 
any materials for the biography of any Sire de Say 
who might be entitled to that distinction. 





" Robert Bertram, ki esteit torz." 

Rom. de Ron, I. 13,634. 

HERE we have not only the baptismal name, 
but a personal description to assist us in identi- 
fying this companion of the Conqueror. " Robert 
Bertram, who was crooked, but was very strong on 
horseback, had with him a great force, and many men 
fell before him." 

Notwithstanding these particulars, and the fact that 
Bertram, surnamed " le Tort," or the crooked, is a real 
personage, who was Seigneur of Briquebec, near Valo- 
nore, who founded, before the Conquest, the Priory of 
" Bcaumont-en-Auge," and on his death bed (immi- 
nente morte) made sundry donations to the Abbey of 


St. Stephen at Caen, about 1082, M. le PreVost tells. 
us it is commonly considered that it was not Robert 
Bertram who took part in the expedition, but William 
Bertram, probably his brother ; and also that he was 
son or grandson of Toustain de Bastenbourg, pro- 
genitors of the Lords of Briquebec and those of 

Mr. Taylor presumes that both William and Robert 
were in the battle, which I will not dispute ; but I 
believe Waco to be right in this instance, as well as in 
many others which have been questioned but not 
disproved. Kobert Bertram was evidently dead before 
the compilation of Domesday ; and Dugdale makes 
no mention of him, beginning his account of the 
family with William, Baron of Mitford, who, with the 
consent of Hawise his wife, as also of Roger, Guy, 
William, and Richard, his sons, founded, temp, 
Henry I., the Priory of Brinkholm, Northumberland, 
for canons regular of the order of St. Augustin. The 
branch of the Bertrams of Bothall I take to be the 
eldest, and Richard, the first of that line mentioned, to 
have been a grandson of Robert, as he held the barony 
of Bothall in capite of the King, Henry II., by the 
service of three knights' fees, as his ancestors had 
done, " de veteri feoffemento," and confirmed to the 
monks of Loirmouth two sheaves out of his lordship 


of Bothall, which they had of the gift of his 

The male Hue of the Bertrams of Mitford failed in 
the reign of Edward II., and that of Bothall in the 
reign following. Agnes, eldest sister and co-heir of 
Eoger, the last Baron of Mitford, married Sir Thomas 
Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough, an ancestor of the 
Earls Fitzwilliam. 


" Cil de Port," alluded to by Wace (Rom. de 
Rou, 1. 13,613), may have been either Hugh or 
Hubert de Port, a commune in the Bessin, near 
Bayeux, for both are reported to have been in the 
battle, but I have specially named Hugh, as, from his 
share of the spoil, it is evident he must have been the 
most prominent in the fight for it, " slaying many 
English that day." At the time of the survey he held 
fifty-five manors in Hampshire of the King, one of 
which was Basing, the head of his barony ; likewise 
twelve more of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (in whose com- 
pany most likely he came) ; one in Dorsetshire, and two 
in Cambridgeshire ; in all seventy lordships. 

We hear nothing more about him till the ninth of 
Eufus (1096), in which year he gave to the monks of 
Gloucester his lordship of Littletone, in Northampton- 


shire, a subsequent acquisition, probably by marriage, 
and assuming the monastic habit at Winchester, ended 
his days there, leaving, by an unnamed wife, Henry, his 
son and heir, who founded the Priory of Shirebourn, 
near Basing. 


A Gilbert as well as a Hubert de Port appears as 
witness to various charters from 1080 to 1082. 

Adam de Port, grandson of the Henry above men- 
tioned, married Mabel de Aurevalle, daughter and heir 
of Muriel de St. John, whose grandfather, William de St. 
John, is stated to have been a companion of the Con- 
queror, which is possibly true ; but he is also described 
as the "Grand Master of Artillery" a title which would 
mislead a reader who was not sufficiently an antiquary 
to know that Artillaria was a term in use long before 
the invention of cannon, and signified munitions of 
war in general, but more especially the machines con- 
structed for the purpose of casting heavy stones and 
other missiles, movable towers for assaulting a castle, 
battering rams, &c. It would be interesting to 
discover what authority there is for this family tradi- 
tion. In the Bayeux Tapestry we see men bearing 
body armour and lances to the ships, but no catapults, 
mangonels, or balistse ; nor does Wace or any other 
author speak of such engines being conveyed on 
board the fleet to England ; but in the wider sense of 


the word, as may be seen by reference to Ducange, 
William de St. John might have been Magister Artil- 
lariae, having the care of all the military store?, armour, 
and weapons included. 

The son of Adam de Port and Mabel de Aurevalle 
assumed the name of St. John as representative of his 
mother's family ; and from his great-grandson John, 
Lord St. John of Basing, descended the Marquises of 
Winchester, the Dukes of Bolton, the Barons St. John 
of Bletshoe, the. Viscounts Grandison, the Earls of 
Jersey, and the Earls and Viscounts Bolingbroke. 

" Awake, my St. John, leave all minor things 
To low ambition and the pi-ide of kings." 

Pope has done more to immortalize the name of 
St. John than the Grand Master of the Artillery of 
William the Conqueror. 


Little is known of this personage mentioned by 
Wace (Rom. de Ron, 1. 13,462) beyond the fact of the 
occurrence of his name in a charter in favour of the 
Abbey aux Dames at Caen in 1032. 

He was probably deceased before the compilation 
of Domesday, in which a Rannulph de Columbcls 
is returned as the holder of sundry manors in Kent, 
the reward of the services rendered to the Conqueror 


cither by Bannulph himself or the William of Wace, 
whom he might have succeeded. Colombieres is in 
the arrondissement of Bayeux, and it is worthy of 
note that in the charter above mentioned a Raoul 
cVAsnieres is found in company with the Lord de 
Columbieres. Asnieres being in the same arrondisse- 
ment, and " Gilbert le viel d'Asnieres " coupled with 
" Willame de Columbieres " in the " Eoman de Kou," 
it is fairly presumable that they were near connections 
as well as near neighbours. The family of Colom- 
bieres (Columbers, Columbels) alone appears to have 
struck root in England, and had become an important 
baronial family in the reign of Henry II., in the 12th 
of whose reign Philip de Columbers accounted for ten 
knights' fees " de veteri feoffemento " and one " de 
novo," and in the 22nd of the same reign paid twenty 
marks for trespassing in the King's forests. Dugdale's 
account only begins with this Philip, and he has not 
noticed that in a Plea Eoll of Henry II. Roger Bacon 
is set down as brother to Philip de Columbers, nor 
that a Gilbert de Columbers was a contemporary of 
Philip and settled in Berkshire. (Lib. Niger.) 

The family of Columbers intermarried with the 
families of Chaudos and Courtenai, and were Seigneurs 
of Dudevill, in Normandy ; but the male line failed in 
England towards the close of the 13th century. 



The " Sire d'Estoteville " of the " Roman cle Rou " 
(1. 13,561) was in all probability Robert, surnamed 
Fronteboeuf, Granteboef, or, according to the French 
antiquaries, Grand-bois ; but whether he was of Es- 
touteville-sur-Cailly or Estouteville-sur-Mer may be 
an open question. There was a knightly family 
deriving their name from the former (at present a 
commune in the canton of Bouchy, arrondissement de 
Rouen), one of whom, Nicholas d'Estouteville, the 
great-great-grandson of Robert, married Gunnor or 
Gunnora, daughter of Hugh IV. de Gournay, and 
widow of Robert de Gant, in the 12th century, and 
received with her in dower the manors of Beddingfield 
and Kimberly in Norfolk, which remained for many 
generations in the family of Stuteville, as it is 
called in England. This Estouteville was formerly a 
mouvance, i.e., a dependency on the fief of La Ferte- 
en-Brai, of which the Gournays were the lords, and it 
is therefore likely that Robert d'Estouteville followed 
Hugh II. de Gournay to England in the invading 

Dugdale's account of him and his son is very 
meagre and incorrect, and neither M. le Prevost nor 


Mr. Edward Taylor has taken any trouble on the 
subject, although some information has been furnished 
us by Orderic which enables me to correct Dugdale 
and answer the observation of M. le Prevost, echoed by 
Mr. Taylor, that he (Robert) must have been very 
young if he was the same who fell forty years after at 
Tenchebrai, in 1106, by the simple assurance to them 
that he was not the same. 

Some ten or eleven years previous to the Conquest, 
Robert I. d'Estouteville was governor of the Castle of 
Ambrieres, and stoutly defended it against Geoffrey 
Martel until relieved by the approach of Duke William. 
He could not therefore have been very young even at 
that time say between twenty and thirty, and in 
1066 he would have been between thirty and forty. 
Of his exploits at Senlac we hear nothing, and his 
name does not appear in Domesday, so we are in 
ignorance of the reward, if any, which he received for 
his services. The latest mention of him is by 
Orderic, who records him as a witness to a confirma- 
tion charter of William son of Fulk de Querneville, 
Dean of Evreux, to the Abbey of Ouche or St. Evroult, 
before the year 1089. 

The date of his death is unascertained ; but he was 
succeeded by his son Robert II. d'Estouteville, alto- 
gether omitted by Dugdale, but in connection with 


whom the following strange story is told by Orderic 
(lib. XL, cap. xiii.) : 

"The same year (1106) the following occurrence 
happened in Normandy : Robert d'Estoteville, a 
brave and powerful baron, was a strong partizan of 
the Duke (Robert Court-heuse), and superintended his 
troops and fortresses in the Pays de Caux. It chanced 
on Easter-day (9th of April, 1105-6), as his chaplain 
was administering the holy sacrament to the baron and 
his household, that a certain knight having approached 
the altar for the purpose of reverently receiving the 
Eucharist, the priest took the consecrated wafer in his 
hand for the purpose of putting it into the mouth of 
the communicant, but found that he was quite inca- 
pable of lifting his hand from the altar. Both parties 
were exceedingly terrified by this circumstance, but at 
length the priest said to the knight, ' Take it if you 
can ; for myself, it is out of my power to move my 
hand and deliver the Lord's body to you.' Upon this 
the knight stretched his neck over the altar, with 
some effort reached the chalice, and received the Host 
in his open mouth from the priest's hand. This ex- 
traordinary occurrence covered him with confusion, 
and apprehending some misfortune, but of what 
nature he knew not, he distributed in consequence 
the greatest portion of his wardrobe and other pro- 


perty amongst the poor and clergy. He was slain 
soon after Easter in the first battle fought at Ma- 
romme, near Rouen. 

" The chaplain, whose name was Robert, related to 
me what happened to him and the unfortunate knight, 
as I have stated, during the celebration of the life- 
giving mysteries." 

The effect of this alarming miracle on Robert, the 
Lord of Estouteville, and his family, who were wit- 
nesses of it, is not recorded, but it is possible they 
might have some gloomy forebodings as respected 
themselves, which were speedily verified ; for Robert, 
the son and heir of this Robert II., was taken prisoner 
by King Henry I. a few months afterwards, at the 
storming of Dive, and his father also at the battle of 
Tenchebrai, closely following. The son was liberated; 
but the elder Robert was sent a captive to England 
and immured for life in a dungeon, and the whole of 
his estates were seized and bestowed by King Henry 
on Nigel de Albini, ancestor of the second race of the 

It was Robert III. de Stoteville, or Stuteville, 
the young knight who was taken at Dive, who dis- 
tinguished himself in the battle of the Standard 
(temp. Stephen), and was made sheriff of Yorkshire 
by Henry II., in the sixteenth year of his reign, 


and who was in possession at that time of seven or eight 
knights' fees in England, how acquired does not appear, 
but as he was twice married, his second wife being 
Sibilla, sister of Philip de Valoines, it is probable that 
some of the lands came to him with his wives- 
Thorpenhow, in the county of Cumberland, he certainly 
had in frank marriage with the latter. He also 
it was who, with Ranulph de Glanville and Bernard 
de Balieul, defeated the Scots near Alnwick (20 
Henry II.), and took their king prisoner. He then 
laid claim to the barony of Roger de Mowbray, 
which had been given to Nigel, Roger's father, by 
Henry I., as above mentioned, and would therefore 
seem to have been held by his father and forfeited 
by his adherence to Robert Court-heuse. A long 
suit, during which we are told the country in general 
favoured Stoteville's title, terminated in a compro- 
mise, Roger de Mowbray giving up the lordship of 
Kirkby Moorside, with its appurtenances, to Robert 
de Stoteville, to be held by the service of nine 
knights' fees. 

This Robert de Stoteville founded two monasteries 
in Yorkshire, one at Rossedale and the other at Keld- 
holme, and was a benefactor to the monks of St. 
Mary's Abbey in York. He also gave to the monks 
of Ricvaulx all the lands between Redham and 

VOL. II. s 


Kirkby, for the health of the soul of Robert his 
grandfather, and for the souls of Robert his father, 
and Erneburga his mother, as also for the souls of 
Helewisa his wife, and William his son, Sibilla his 
second wife surviving him. 

It is singular that although Dugclale has recited the 
provisions of this charter, and printed a pedigree 
which corresponds with it, he should have confounded 
the first Robert with the second, the second with the 
third, and invented a fourth, to whom he attributes 
the charter to the Abbey of Rievaulx. 

There are other inaccuracies in his account of this 
family, but they are beyond my province in this 
work. I have travelled already sufficiently far out 
of the record in clearing up the extraordinary confu- 
sion of its commencement, which appears to have 
puzzled M. le Prevost and Mr. Taylor. 


The omission of the name of this personage, the 
subject of so much controversy, by the author of the 
" Roman de Rou," is not so remarkable as his silence 
respecting Eustace, Count of Boulogne, whose rank in 
his own country, and the unenviable notoriety he had 
justly or unjustly acquired in England, would, we 


should imagine, render it impossible for him to have 
been completely overlooked. Nor does the appearance 
of the name of Peverel in the Koll of Battle Abbey, 
Duchsne's List, the rhyming catalogue, and those 
recently compiled by Messrs, de Magny and Leopold 
Delisle, justify us in claiming for him, on their 
unsupported and very questionable authority, the right 
to be classed amongst the conquerors at Senlac. 

At the same time we have no evidence, as in the 
cases of Roger de Montgomeri, Hugh d'Avranches, 
tind Henry de Percy, to warrant our entertaining a 
contrary opinion. "We must therefore give him the 
benefit of the doubt, particularly as we find him as 
early as 1068 in charge of the newly-built Castle of 
Nottingham, and at the time of the compilation of 
Domesday the lord of one hundred and sixty-two 
manors in England, and possessing in Nottingham 
alone forty-eight merchants' or traders' houses, thirteen 
knights' houses, and eight bondsmen's cottages, 
"besides ten acres of land granted to him by the King 
1 to make an orchard, and the churches of St. Mary, 
St. Peter, and St. Nicholas, all three of which we find 
he gave with their land, tithe, and appurtenances by 
his charter to the Priory of Lenton. 

Surely his services must have been most important 
his reputation for valour and ability well established, 

s 2 


to have merited such magnificent rewards. To have 
obtained for him from the wary and suspicious Con- 
queror so important a trust as the custody of Notting- 
ham Castle at so early an age too for if the date of 
his death in the register of St. James's, Northampton, 
one of his foundations, can be relied on, viz., 5th 
kalends of February, 1113 (1114 according to our 
present calculation), he could scarcely have been more 
than four or five-and-twenty at the time of his 

How is it then that, previous to that period, no- 
deed of arms is recorded of him? That in all the 
battles and commotions of which Normandy was the 
theatre during the thirty years preceding the Conquest, 
the name of Peverel, if such a family existed in the 
duchy, never crops up, even accidentally, in any of 
the pages of the contemporary chroniclers 1 

A Kanulph Peverel also appears in Domesday as 
the lord of sixty-four manors. Of a verity, the merits 
of these Peverels must have been great, or their 
influence at Court from some cause or another 

Of course, if it were true, as we have hitherto been 
led to believe, that William Peverel was a natural son 
of William the Conqueror, not a word more need be 
wasted on the subject ; but Mr. Eaton, in his History 


of Shropshire, discredits the report, and Mr. Edward 
Freeman rejects it with contempt and indignation as 
the unvouched-for assertion of a Herald (see vol. i., 
p. 72). 

I am unfortunate in being opposed in my opinion 
to two such great authorities ; but until they produce 
.something like evidence to support theirs, I cannot 
consent to surrender my own. 

Let us dispassionately examine the arguments of the 
first dissenter, Mr. Eaton, who in refutation of the 
.assertion says, " Its improbability arises in two ways. 
It is inconsistent with the general character of Duke 
William." To whom shall we refer for the general 
character of this master of dissimulation, who so 
thoroughly understood and practised the policy of 
.assuming a virtue if he had it not ? To his paid 
servants and courtly flatterers, Guillaume de Poitiers, 
his own chaplain, or Guy of Amiens, his wife's almoner, 
who, if he did write the " Carmen de Bello," I consider 
not worthy to be believed on his oath \ These are the 
only actual contemporaries who could have informed 
us what was the Duke's general character for morality 
in Normandy in his own time, and they have not 
thought it worth while to do so. 

William of Malmesbury, a writer of the reign of 
Henry II., is the first and only one in the twelfth 


century* who praises him for the exercise of that 
single virtue that has been so ostentatiously paraded 
by his later panegyrists or apologists, and even he at 
the same time acknowledges that " there were not- 
wanting persons who prated of matters" irreconcilable 
with such a reputation. I am therefore at a loss to 
discover " the general character of Duke William "" 
which is the foundation of one of Mr. Eaton's argu- 

The other is easier to deal with, because it consists- 
of matters of fact, not merely matters of opinion. 
" Moreover," he continues, " this alleged liaison with a, 
Saxon lady of rank can have originated in no earlier 
circumstance than the event of the Duke's visit to the 
Court of Edward the Confessor in 1051. However,. 
William Peverel must have been born before that 
period, for he was old enough in 1068 to be intrusted 
with one of the most responsible affairs in the kingdom 
the custody of the castle and province from which, 
he took his name." 

The possibility never seems to have occurred to Mr. 
Eaton, that the Saxon lady of rank might have visited 
Normandy before 1051, a circumstance which would 
remove the only serious difficulty in the story. Wil- 

* Roger of Wendover simply copies William of Malmesbury. No- 
other writer alludes to the subject. 


Ham Peverel was no doubt of full age at the time of 
the Conquest, and might have been, as I have said, 
four or five-and-twenty when appointed to the govern- 
ment of Nottingham, and near upon seventy at the 
time of his death. According to this calculation he 
would have been born a year or so previous to Duke 
William's first proposal to Matilda of Flanders. 

" Mystery," Mr. Eaton admits, " there certainly is 
about the whole subject, and the truth may very 
possibly be buried with some tale of courtly scandal, 
though not of the precise character hitherto pointed 

The entire history of William Duke of Normandy 
up to the invasion of England is involved in mystery, 
and that of William Peverel might tend to elucidate 
some part of it. 

If the Duke was not his father, as asserted and 
believed as early at least as the time of Camden and 
Glover, who could not have been the originator, as Mr. 
Freeman implies, of the " uncertified and almost 
impossible scandal" who were his parents? Upon 
no occasion docs he allude even to them ; a 
most singular and significant fact. Ho founds and 
endows the Priory of Lenton, near Nottingham, for 
the health of the soul of King William and Matilda 
his wife, King William Kufus, King Henry I. 


and Maud his consort, as also for the souls of Wil- 
liam and Maud their children ; and likewise for the 
health of his own soul and the souls of Adeline his 
wife, William his son, and all his other children. No 
mention of father or mother, nor of any ancestors 
whatever. He was, in fact, "nullus films." 

And how came it that the young " nameless ad- 
venturer," of whom nothing is previously known, was 
laden with wealth and honours, and selected from a 
host of noble, valiant, and experienced warriors for so 
important a command ? 

And next his name. I will not draw any inference 
from his baptismal one, though it certainly does not 
weaken the argument ; but whence that of Peverel ? 
Not from his place of birth, nor lands which he 
possessed, or we should somewhere find the Norman 
" de " prefixed to it. 

One story is that the daughter of Ingelric, an Anglo- 
Saxon nobleman, and a benefactor if not the founder 
of the collegiate church of St. Martin-le-Grand, 
London, having been the mistress of Duke William 
and the mother by him of a son named after him, 
married subsequently Eanulph Peverel, who accom- 
panied the Conqueror to England, and that not only 
the children born of that marriage, but also the Duke's 
son William, were thenceforth known by the name of 


Peverel. The other version is, that the lady, by 
Leland called Ingelrica, and by Morant, Maud, was 
the wife of Ranulph Peverel before she became the 
mistress of the Duke, whose son by her took the name 
of her husband's family. 

One of these accounts must of course be inaccurate, 
but both agree respecting the main question at issue, 
are equally probable, and uncontradicted by any cir- 
cumstantial evidence. The latter version disposes 
altogether of the second objection of Mr. Eaton, as the 
wife of Ranulph Peverel would naturally have been 
resident in Normandy when the Duke made her 
acquaintance, and therefore his assumption that the 
liaison could have originated in no earlier circumstance 
than the Duke's visit to King Edward in 1051 is 
shown to be erroneous, and in either case a much too 
hasty conclusion. 

History, it has been said, repeats itself, and the 
account given by Dugdale of William's liaison with the 
daughter of Ingelric is curiously similar to that of his 
father Robert with the daughter of Fulbert the Furrier. 
The young prince, scarcely perhaps of age, is attracted 
by the beauty of a girl who becomes his mistress, and 
having borne him a son, marries, when lie marries, a 
Norman knight by whom she has several children. 

* " Cujus erat pellex." C.imden, 445. 


There is nothing remarkable in such circumstances,, 
except their coincidence with those of Robert and 
Herleve, nor indeed in that, as they were of common 
occurrence in Normandy, and tolerated, if not sanc- 
tioned, as the custom of the country. And what if 
the existence not only of a wife more Danico, but of a 
son should have been one of the hitches in the matri- 
monial arrangements of William and Matilda of 
Flanders ? Several good reasons might be adduced to- 
show the bearing of this case on the mystery that still 
enshrouds the singular courtship of the lady and the 
unexplained prohibition of the Pope, but I have no- 
desire to multiply theories which cannot be fairly 
supported by facts, and have only endeavoured to 
show as briefly as possible that there are better 
grounds for believing in the story than for contemptu- 
ously dismissing it. Tradition should always be re- 
ceived with great caution, but where not irreconcilable 
with dates, nor met by " rebutting evidence," it should 
not be hastily discarded as utterly unworthy of 

We are not dealing with mystic personages. Wil- 
liam Peverel of Nottingham, as well as Eanulph of 
Essex, had each a local habitation as well as a name. 
The latter was founder of the Priory of Hatfielcl 
Peverel, at the instigation of, or in conjunction with,. 


the daughter of Ingelrie, his wife, or, as I believe, his 
mother. Weever, who tells her story in language too- 
highly coloured for these pages, says she died about 
1100, and was buried there. Her image, he states, 
was in his time to be seen carved in stone in one of 
the windows. 

What have we against all this corroborative testi- 
mony ? A denial, and an opinion ! 

The name of Peverel, as I have observed, was not 
derived from a fief or a locality. In a paper I read 
many years ago at Nottingham, I pointed out that Sir 
William Pole, in his Collections for Devonshire, speak- 
ing of the branch which settled in that county, says 
the name was Peverell or Piperell, and in Domesday 
we find it continually spelt " Piperellus Terra 
Ranulphi Pipperelli." This, however, does not illus- 
trate its derivation, and the detestable practice of 
latinising proper names only tends to confuse and 
mislead us, as they become in turn translated or cor- 
rupted till the original is either lost or rendered hope- 
lessly inexplicable. My belief is, that like " Mesquin," 
lesser or junior, translated into Mischinus, and dis- 
torted into De Micenis, Peverel is the Norman form of 
Peuerellus, as we find it written in the Anglo-Norman 
Pipe and Plea Kolls. The u being pronounced v in 
Normandy, and Peuerellus being simply a misspelling. 


of the Latin Puerulus, a boy or child, naturally applied 
to the son to distinguish him from his father. 
William Peverel was therefore, literally, boy or child' 

We see in the instance of the descendants of Richard 
-d'Avranches how " Mesquin," used to distinguish 
a younger son, became the name of a family, and so I 
take it to have been with Peverel, which, originally 
.applied to William, was afterwards borne by so many 
of his relations in England. 

The Eanulph Peverel of Domesday I believe to 
have been William's half-brother. At any rate, he 
could scarcely have been the Ranulph who married 
the daughter of Ingelric, for we find his eldest son 
Hamnio, or Hammond, a man grown, settled in England 
a few years after the Conquest, and one of the chief 
tenants or barons of Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of 
Shrewsbury. He is also reported to have had two 
other sons, Payne Peverel of . Brune, and William 
Peverel of Dover ; but I have no business with 
these in this place, and I fear I may have already 
wearied the reader with my attempt to affiliate 
William the child and controvert the recently formed 
opinion of the immaculate morality of William the 
father, which, notwithstanding they must have been 
.all acquainted with the passage in Malmesbury, was 


not entertained by Camden, Glover, Dugdale, Sand- 
ford,, Weever, Thoroton, Deering, Morant, nor any 
genealogist or historian as far as I can remember to the 
middle of the present century, the erudite translator 
of Orderic, Mr. Thomas Forester, in 1853, unhesitat- 
ingly speaking of William Peverel of Nottingham as 
"the son of William the Conqueror," and "half- 
brother " of William Peverel of Dover. 

I have no doubt in my own mind that the son of 
Robert and Herleve "had at least three natural chil- 
dren, and should not be surprised if the mysterious 
Matilda of Domesday should prove to be a fourth. 

The wife of AVilliam Peverel of Nottingham was 
Adelina de Lancaster, but her parentage is not ascer- 
tained. From her surname she may be supposed to 
have been the daughter of Roger de Poitou, son of 
Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, who was 
sometimes called Earl of Lancaster, in consequence 
of the large possessions in that county which he 
obtained with his wife, or perhaps one of. the 
family of those Barons of Kendal of whom William of 
Lancaster was a wealthy and powerful person in the 
reigns of Henry I., Stephen, and Henry II., but we 
have nothing beyond the name to guide us. 

This lady appears to have borne to her husband 
two sons, each named William, the elder dying in his 


by any one, I have already called attention to in the 
first volume of this work, but subsequent inquiry 
having strengthened my suspicions, and the question 
being raised by me for the first time, I cannot con- 
clude this memoir without placing my facts before the 
dispassionate reader, leaving him to draw his own 
conclusions from them as I have done. 

Here is the extract from the charter as printed by 
Olivarius, verbatim et literatim. 

11 In nomine, &c., Ego Willielmus divina dispen- 
sante misericordia, Eex Anglorum & Due Nor- 
manorum, &c. Anno Dominica Incarnationis MLXXXI 
scripta est hsec charta & ab excellentiorabus regni 
personis testicata & confirmata, in nomine Dm 
feliciter, Amen. Ego WILLIELMUS Dei gratia Anglo- 
rum Eex hoc prseceptum possi scribere & scriptum 
signo Dominica Crucis confirmando impressi >fc. Ego 
MATHILDIS confirmavi >J. Ego Lanfrancus Arehae- 
pisc >J. Ego THOMAS Archiepiscopus Kegis filius *fc. 
Ego Eogerius comes. Ego Hugo comes. Ego Alanus 
comes. Ego EODBERTUS comes. Ego Eustatius 
comes >fc. WILLIELMUS Eegis filius >J<. Willielmus 
filius Osbert^. Walter de Gaud *." (Arch. S. 
Pet. Gand.) 

Observe that the name of Thomas is printed in 
capital letters, as arc those of alJ the royal family, 


while those of the Primate Lanfranc, the great Earls 
of Shrewsbury, Chester, Richmond, and Boulogne are 
in ordinary type. 

What the distinction may have been in the charter 
itself, I cannot presume to say ; but there can be no 
doubt there was a distinction of equal importance, or 
it would not have been thus indicated by Olivarius 
rendering the words "Regis films" still more signifi- 
cant. Another remarkable circumstance is the occur- 
rence of the name of a William, the son of Osbert, 
amongst the witnesses. The names of the parents of 
Archbishop Thomas are said to have been Osbert and 
Muriel, on the authority of some entries made from 
time to time in the blank spaces left in a calendar 
printed in an appendix to the Surtees Edition of the 
Liber Vitne Duuelm., from a MS. marked B iv, 24, 
which belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Durham. 
"Februarius V. Kal. Mar. 0' (biit) Osbertus Pater 
domini Archiepiscopi Thomse." 

"Jimius V. Id. 0' Muriel, Mater Domini Archie- 
piscopi Thomse." No year stated. 

These entries are assumed to apply to Thomas of 
Bayeux, the successor of Aldred, 1070 1100; but 
what proof is there that they do not refer to his 
nephew Thomas, Provost of Beverley, and Bishop- 
elect of London, who before consecration thereto was 
promoted to York, A.D. 1109, and who has been occa- 

VOL. If. T 


by any one, I have already called attention to in the 
first volume of this work, but subsequent inquiry 
having strengthened my suspicions, and the question 
being raised by me for the first time, I cannot con- 
clude this memoir without placing my facts before the- 
dispassionate reader, leaving him to draw his own. 
conclusions from them as I have done. ' 

Here is the extract from, the charter as printed by 
Olivarius, verbatim et literatim. 

" In nomine, &c., Ego Willielmus divina dispen- 
sante misericordia, Rex Anglorum & Due Nor- 
manorum, &c. Anno Dominica Incarnationis MLXXXI 
scripta est haec charta & ab excellentiorabus regni 
personis testicata & confirmata, in nomine DnT 
feliciter, Amen. Ego WILLIELMUS Dei gratia Anglo- 
rum Rex hoc prseceptum possi scribere & scriptum 
signo Dominica Crucis confirmando impressi >J<. Ego 
MATHILDIS confirmavi >J. Ego Lanfrancus Archae- 
pisc >J<. Ego THOMAS Archiepiscopus Regis filius ^ 
Ego Rogerius comes. Ego Hugo comes. Ego Alanus 
comes. Ego RODBEETUS comes. Ego Eustatius 
comes i*. WILLIELMUS Regis filius ^. Wilh'elmus 
filius Osbert^. Walter de Gand ^." (Arch. S. 
Pet. Gand.) 

Observe that the name of Thomas is printed in. 
capital letters, as arc those of alJ the royal family, 


while those of the Primate Lanfranc, the great Earls 
of Shrewsbury, Chester, Richmond, and Boulogne are 
in ordinary type. 

What the distinction may have been in the charter 
itself, I cannot presume to say ; but there can be no 
doubt there was a distinction of equal importance, or 
it would not have been thus indicated by Olivarius 
rendering- the words "Regis filius" still more signifi- 
cant. Another remarkable circumstance is the occur- 
rence of the name of a William, the son of Osbert, 
amongst the witnesses. The names of the parents of 
Archbishop Thomas are said to have been Osbert and 
Muriel, on the authority of some entries made from 
time to time in the blank spaces left in a calendar 
printed in an appendix to the Surtees Edition of the 
Liber Vitue Dunelm., from a MS. marked B iv, 24, 
which belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Durham. 
"Februarius V. Kal. Mar. 0' (biit) Osbertus Pater 
domini Archiepiscopi Thomae." 

"Junius V. Id. 0' Muriel, Mater Domini Archie- 
piscopi Thomse." No year stated. 

These entries are assumed to apply to Thomas of 
Bayeux, the successor of Aldred, 1070 1100; but 
what proof is there that they do not refer to his 
nephew Thomas, Provost of Beverley, and Bishop- 
elect of London, who before consecration thereto was 
promoted to York, A.D. 1109, and who has been occa- 

VOL. ir. x 


sionaJly confounded with his uncle of the same name 
and position ? Be this as it may, we have in the 
above charter evidence of a William Fitz Osbert living 
in 1081, and subscribing a document in company with 
the Archbishop Thomas, who calls himself "Regis 
filius," though asserted by Brompton to be the son of 
a priest, " Namque presbyteri fuit filius." 

Thomas of Bayeux had a brother named Samson, 
who was sent with him to Liege by Bishop Odo for 
his education. He was ordained a priest by Anselm, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, 14th June, 1096, at Lam- 
beth, and consecrated Bishop of Worcester at St. Paul's 
Cathedral the next day ! What influence could pos- 
sibly have been at work to elevate and enrich in so 
remarkable a manner the sons of an obscure eccle- 
siastic, the married or unmarried priest Osbert ? 

Of course, as in the instance of Peverel, if Thomas 
was the son of William Duke of Normandy and King 
of England, the answer is obvious. 

Well, the fortunate Thomas 1st had an equally for- 
tunate nephew, Archbishop Thomas 2nd. Was he 
the son of Bishop Samson, or was he or not related to 
the William the son of Osbert who witnessed the 
Charter of William the Conqueror in company with 
Archbishop Thomas " Regis filius " ? 

The career of this Thomas of Bayeux and William 
Peverel are singularly similar. Each, without previous 


distinction, was suddenly raised to rank and power on 
the first opportunity. Nothing is positively known of 
their parentage. Tradition, uncontradicted by facts, 
asserts Peverel to have been a son of King William, 
and Thomas declares himself another. 

If the entry in the Calendar really refers to him, 
and Muriel was his mother, and not his sister-in-law, 
she could only have been the " compagne " of Osbert, 
as the marriage of priests was prohibited by the Synod 
of Lisieux and Eouen, and she therefore holds no 
higher position than Ingelric. 

The story of Peverel could not have been the in- 
vention of an enemy, as in the eleventh century no 
shame was attached to such illicit connections. From 
Rolf the Dane to Robert the Devil, every ancestor of 
the Conqueror had left illegitimate issue, and there- 
fore in the summary of his crimes and vices no con- 
temporary would have dreamed of including inconti- 
nence. That neither Glover nor Camden ever ques- 
tioned the fact, is to me sufficient evidence that they 
had satisfied themselves as to the authenticity of the 
information on which they had asserted it. They may 
have been deceived, but they did not invent the story, 
in which there is nothing incredible, and if false, lias 
yet to be traced to its origin before we are justified in 
rejecting it. 

T 2 



OF the following personages but few can be 
identified, and of those few no materials have been 
found hitherto for the briefest biographical notice. 

To the meagre information and vague speculations 
of Messrs, le Prevost and Edgar Taylor I have 
added in some instances a fact, and in others a sug- 
gestion ; and generally upheld the authority of Wace 
where it could not be shaken by direct evidence. I 
have already given my reasons for the confidence I 
place in his testimony, and feel assured that subse- 
quent researches will justify my opinion of him. 

The honest Prebend of Bayeux, at the conclusion 
of what may be fairly called his "Roll," candidly 
acknowledges, " Many other barons there were whom 
I have not even named, for I cannot give an account 
of them all, nor can I tell of all the feats they did, for 
I would not be tedious. Neither can I give the 
names of all the barons, nor the surnames of all 
whom the Duke brought from Normandy and Brittany 
in his company." Those, however, whom he has 


named he had, I firmly believe, good authority for 
naming, and with one important exception (the pre- 
sence of Roger de Montgomeri at Senlac), which is 
yet an open question, I have seen no reason to doubt 
his accuracy, or to endorse the opinion, that in 
specifying the baptismal names of the early Norman 
barons he has "often erred." He was much more 
likely to be right than his commentators in the nine- 
teenth century, who, unless they can prove distinctly 
that no member of the family bore such a baptismal 
appellation in October, 1066, are not justified, except 
by the production of the most conclusive evidence, in 
asserting that he was not also a companion of the 

The recently published lists of Messrs, de Magny 
and Delisle, while supplying some hundreds of names, 
are unfortunately unaccompanied by the evidence on 
which they have been recorded, and consequently 
cannot be confidently quoted either in corroborate on 
or in contradiction of the older catalogues, varying 
as they do from them in many important instances, 
and occasionally from each other. 

ABEVILE, Wiestace dc, 1. 13,562. M. le PreVost 
merely remarks that there is a commune so named in 
the arrondissemcnt of Lisieux, but that he thinks it 
more probable that Abbeville, the well-known city in 


Ponthieu, is the locality indicated. I have mentioned 
in my memoir of Eustace, Count of Boulogne, the 
fact that both the Counts of Ponthieu and the Counts 
of Boulogne were occasionally called " of Abbeville." 
But strange as it appears that so remarkable a person 
as Eustace II. should have been altogether omitted 
by Wace, which he certainly has been if not alluded 
to as above, there is nothing to enable us to identify 
him with the unknown companion of the Conqueror 
recorded by the Prebend of Bayeux. He would surely 
have written " Li quens Wiestace de Abevile " had 
he intended to speak of Count Eustace. Who then 
was this Wiestace ? No one of the name of Abbe- 
ville appears in Domesday. An obscure adventurer 
a soldier of fortune, perhaps killed in the battle 
would scarcely have been classed with the Cham- 
berlain of Tankerville, the Lord of Mandeville, and 
William Crispin, or even mentioned at all by the 
Norman poet for the sake of the rhyme, unless he 
had distinguished himself in the conflict, or in some 
way made the name of Eustace of Abbeville familiar 
to his countrymen. 

I am strongly under the impression that for Abbe- 
ville we should read Appeville, of which name there 
was more than one Norman family of note in the 
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. 


Three parishes so named are to be found in Nor- 
mandy : 1. Appeville, canton of Montfort-sur-Risle, 
arrondissement of Pontaudemer ; 2. Appeville-le- 
Petit, canton of Affranville, arrondissement of Dieppe; 
3. Appeville-la-Haye, canton of Haye-du-Puits, arron- 
dissement of Coutances. The lords of Montfort-sur- 
Kisle were also seigneurs of Appeyille, and several of 
their charters are subscribed by persons of that name, 
as arc also some charters of the Counts of Meulent, 
sires de Pontaudemer. Gosce d'Appeville witnesses 
the gift of the hermitage of Brotone to the Abbey of 
Preaux, by Robert, Comte de Meulent, circa 11G3. 
Appcville-le-Petit furnishes us with no indications ; 
but Appeville-la-Haye was no doubt the cradle of a 
family so named. Our former acquaintance, Turstain 
Haldub, lord of Haye-du-Puits at the time of the 
Conquest, was also Seigneur d'Appeville; and from 
the foundation charter of the Abbey of Lessay we 
learn that lie, with his son Eudo al Chapel, gave to 
that abbey all the churches, lands, woods, and meadows 
in Apavil and Osulfvill, " et aliis maisnillis quse ad 
Apavillam pertinebant." Observe that Appeville is 
here spelt with one p, as Abbeville in the " Roman 
de Rou " is with one Z>. A very slight slip of the 
pen may have caused all the confusion. 

Still stronger presumptive evidence is afforded us 


by Domesday. Walterus de Appevillc is therein 
recorded as holding, tinder William de Arcis, the 
manor of Folkestone, in the hundred of that name. 

We have here distinct proof that an Appevillc 
had established himself in England before 1085, and 
may fairly draw from it the inference, that either 
Walter himself or one of his family was a companion 
of the Conqueror in 1066. MM. de Magny and 
Delisle have Gauticr (Walter) d'Appeviile, but no 
Eustace. The name of Abbeville occurs in the Roll 
of Battle Abbey, but that is no evidence. 

ASNEBEC (Onebac), "cil d'," 1. 13,748. Asnebec is 
a commune in the neighbourhood of Voie. M. le 
Prevost doubts that it was a seigneurie at the time 
of the Conquest, and believes it to have belonged to 
Kobert, the younger son of Hamon-aux-Dents, the 
rebel lord of Thorigny killed at Val-es-Dunes in 1047. 
That Robert succeeded his father in the lordship of 
Thorigny, as Le Prevost implies, is very proble- 
matical ; but he may have been Sire d'Asnebec, and 
as such recognized in 1066, if he were in the in- 
vading army, which must first be ascertained. If not, 
"He of Onebec" remains for the present unidenti- 

ASNIERES, " Gilbert le Yield'/' 1. 13,663. Asnieres, 
a commune in the arrondissement of Bayeux. A Raoul 


cTAsnieres witnesses a charter to the Abbey-aux- 
Damcs, at Caen, in 1082 ; but there is no trace of a 
Gilbert, nor mention of any of the family, in Domes- 
day ; neither do I find it in any form in the Kolls or 
lists of "the Conquerors 5 ' that have come down to 
us. Mr. Edgar Taylor, however, has noticed that in 
the Bayeux Inquest the Maulevriers, a well-known 
Anglo-Norman family, are found to hold half a 
knight's fee in Asnicres, the only connection of it 
with this country yet discovered. 

AUVILLIERS, "Sire d'," 1. 13,747. There are two 
communes of this name, one near Pont-1'Eveque, 
and the other near Mortemer-sur-Eaulne. As the 
" Sire d'Auvillers " is described by Wace as charging 
in company with Hugh de Mortemer, it is probable 
he hailed from the latter, and was a vassal of the 
Mortemers. A Hugh de Aviler was a vassal of 
Eobert Malet, in Suffolk, in the days of the Con- 
queror, and a benefactor to the Priory of Eye, founded 
by him ; but there is nothing to show who was the 
Sire d'Auvilliers who fought at Senlac. 

BERTRAX, " de Peleit le filz," 1. 11,510. A Breton 
who joined the army of invasion at St. Valery, in 
company with the Sire de Dinan, Raoul de Gael, and 
many others of his countrymen. Nothing more 
appears to be known of him by any one; and "do 


Peleit Ic filz Bertran" may be interpreted either as 
Bertrancl the son of Peleit, or de Peleit the son of 
Bertrand, or Fitz-Bertrand de Peleit ! 

BRIENCORT, "le Sire de/' 1. 13,773. No such place 
known in Normandy. Supposed by Le Prevost to 
be intended for Brucourt, arrondissement of Pont- 
1'EvCque. A Robert de Brucourt confirmed grants 
by Geffry de Fervaques to Walsingham, the only 
instance of the connection of the name with English 

BOSXEBOSQ, "leSircde," 1. 13,GG7. From Bonnc- 
bosq, arrondissement of Pont-1'EvCque. No identifi- 
cation or connection with England. 

BOTEVILAIN, 1. 13,711. A Sire de Bouttevilc, arron- 
dissement of Valognes, is certified by Mous. de 
Gerville to have been in the expedition. The name 
occurs in the Roll of Battle Abbey, and the family 
established itself in the counties of Somerset and 
Bedford. At the same time a family named Boutte- 
villain is found seated in Northamptonshire, in which 
county a Guillaume Boutevileyn founded, in 1143, 
the Abbey of Pipewell. This name appears in 
Brompton's List ; but whether the Boutevilles and 
the Bouttevillains were one and the same family is 
left to conjecture, as well as who were the actual 
companions of the Conqueror. The Thynnes, Mar- 


quises of Bath, claim descent from Botevillc of 
Shelton, county of Salop.""' 

BELFOU, " Robert le Sire de," 1. 13,558. Here we 
have a baptismal name to assist us, and as Guillaumc 
de Poitiers also calls him Robert, I adopt it, merely 
observing that Le Prevost states he is called Ralf in 
some contemporary documents, and that we find a 
Radulph de Bellofago in Domesday. The modern 
lists have Raoul and William. 

Beaufou, Beaufoi, or Belfai, latinised Bellofagus, is 
ill the neighbourhood of Pont-rEveque. Its lords 
were descended in female line from Ralph, Comte 
d'lvri, uterine brother of Duke Richard I., already 
mentioned (page 220, ante) ; and Sir Henry Ellis, 
in his "Introduction to Domesday," suggests that 
the Radulplms of that book was a near relation, if 
not a son, of William dc Beaufoe, Bishop of Thetford, 
Chaplain and Chancellor of the Conqueror. I con- 
sider him more likely to have been the son of Robert, 
the combatant of Senlac, and nephew of William the 
Bishop. No particulars are known of either, and 
except through females no descendants are traceable 
in England. 

CAILLY, "Sirede," 1. 13,649. Cailly is in the arron- 
dissement of Rouen, and there can be no doubt that 

* Xot one of the last seven names occurs in the modem catalogues. 


one or more of the family may have been in the 
expedition. Osbern de Cailly was apparently the 
holder of the fief in 10GG, as his son Roger made a 
donation to St. Ouen in 1080. A "William de Cailgi 
also appears in Domesday. Although by alliances 
with the Giffards and the Tateshalls they became of 
importance in England, the companion of the Con- 
queror has afforded no materials for a memoir. By 
the death of Thomas de Cailly, Baron of Buckenham 
(10th Edw. II.), without issue, the property passed, 
through his sister and heir Margaret, to the family of 

CARTE AT, "Onfroi and Mangier, "1. 13,584. Carteret, 
in the arrondissement of Valognes, imparted its name 
to this family, from a branch of which, settled in 
Jersey, the Barons Cartcret, and from the sisters and 
co-heirs of Robert, second Earl Granville, Viscount 
and Baron Carteret, who died without issue in 1776, 
descend the present Marquises of Bath and Tweeddale, 
and the Earls Dysart and Cowper. Of Humphrey 
and Mangier, the companions of the Conqueror, no- 
thing is known but their names. That of Roger is 
added by the modern compilers. Regnaud de Car- 
teret, son of an earlier Humphrey, accompanied Duke 
Robert the Magnificent to the Holy Land in 1035. 

CFIAIGNES, "le Sire de," 1. 1 3,664. LePrevost derives 

LA FERTE. 283 

this family from Cab agues, in the arrondisscment de 
Bayeux, the lords of which were benefactors to the 
abbey of Grestein, in Normandy, and the priory of 
Lewes, in Sussex. The name also appears in Domes- 
day, and with the addition of Guillaume in the 
modern lists. 

COMBRAI, " cil de," 1. 13,775. Combrai is near Har- 
court Thury, arrondissement of Falaise. We have no 
particulars respecting its earlier lords, nor any indica- 
tion which of them was in the battle. The modern 
lists have Geoffrey. 

EPIN, " cil de," 1. 13,613. All speculation even on 
who is indicated by this personage would be idle under 
present circumstances. There are numerous fiefs and 
communes so called, and unless, as M. le Prevost 
observes, we are to consider the name was latinized 
into De Spincto, we have no trace of the family in 

FERTE. "li Sire de la," 1. 13,707. The authors of 
" Recherches sur le Domesday " have set at rest all 
doubts respecting this personage and the locality from 
which he derived his name. Under the head of 
ACHARDUS they state incidentally that, in 1066, 
Achard d'Ambrieres, Henri de Domfront, and Mathcw 
de la Fet-te Mace brought eighty men-at-arms from le 
Passais-Nonnand to join the forces assembled by Duke 


William for tlic conquest of England. We have here, 
therefore, the names of two other companions of the 
Conqueror, neither of whom is mentioned by M. de 
Magny or Delisle ; William de la Fertc, who with 
Turgis de Tracic were governors of Maine in 1073, 
was perhaps of the same family. A William de Feri- 
tate (Ferte) held Weston and Stokes in Baronise from 
the Conquest of England (Testa dc Neville, p. 286). 
A Sire de Ferte Mace*, either Mathias or William, 
married a sister of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and his 
son William is described as nephew of that worthy 
prelate in the charter of an Archbishop of Tours, temp. 
St. Louis. What sister of Odo, and by which father ? 

GASCTE, " cil de," 1. 13,658. Gace, arrondissement 
of Argentan. It is not known who was Sire de Gace 
in 1066. Baoul de Gace", the instigator of the murder 
of Gilbert, Count of Eu, died childless before the 
Conquest, and his domains were seized by Duke 
William. The holder under him has not been dis- 


Goviz, " cil de," 1. 13,653. Gouvix is in the arron- 
dissement of Falaise, but no possessor of it is known 
at the time of the Conquest. 

JORT, "cil de/' 1. 13,614. Jort is a commune near 
Courci, arrondissement of Falaise. It had belonged to 

LA MARE. 287 

Lesceline, Countess of Eu, but no possessor of it in 
10G6 is known to French antiquaries. It was pro- 
bably held by some one under the De Courcis of that 
day, as they are named together " Gil de Courci e Oil 
de Jbrt." 

LITHAIRE, "li Sire de," 1. 13,554. Lithaire, com- 
mune of Haye-du-Puits, in the Cotentin. Eudo al 
Chapel was lord of it in 1066 ; but Robert de Hale, 
who married Muriel, daughter and heir of Eudo, 
might have held under him (see p. 125, ante). 

LA MARE, "Sire de," 1. 13,555. The name of this 
great Anglo-Norman family was derived from the 
fief of La Mare, at St. Opportune, arrondissement of 
Pontaudemer, where the castle was built on piles on 
the border of the lake, still called Grand-Mare. 
Lemare occurs in the Roll of Battle Abbey and 
Duchesne's List, and De la Mare in Leland's ; but I 
cannot find a Hugues de la Mare, as suggested by Le 
Prevost, in any, no baptismal names being men- 
tioned. The modern lists have Guillaume. 

MOLEI, "le Sire de," 1. 13,777. The family name 
of the Sire de Molay, or Vieux-Molay, in the eleventh 
century, was Bacon, subsequently so illustrious in 
England ; and it is presumed that a Guillaume Bacon, 
who in 1082 made donations to the Abbey of the 
Holy Trinity at Caen, wherein his sister had taken 


the veil, is the Sire de Molai of the "Roman de Ron." 
A Richard Bacon, nephew of Ranulf, Earl of Chester, 
founded the priory of Roncester, county of Stafford. 
The family of the great Lord Chancellor and the 
premier baronets of England do not deduce their 
descent from the Norman lords of Molay, but from 
Grirnbald, a cousin of William, de Warren, whose 
great grandson, according to their genealogists, as- 
sumed the name of Bacon in Normandy. 

MONCEALS, "La," 1. 13,654. There are several 
communes of the name of Monceaux in Normandy. 
Le Prevost considers the one in question is in the 
neighbourhood of Bayeux, and the seat of the family 
of Drogo de Monceaux, the second husband of Edith 
de Warren, widow of Gerrard de Gournay. Either 
Drogo or his son of the same name witnessed the 
foundation charter of Dun stable, in the county of 
Bedford, temp. Henry I, and the name is of frequent 
occurrence in later documents. Guillaume dc Mon- 
ceaux occurs in the modern lists. 

PACTE, "cil ki ert Sire de," 1. 13,655. Paci-sur- 
Eure was, at the time of the Conquest, in the posses- 
sion of William Fitz Osbern, and after his death, in 
1074, formed a portion of the inheritance of William de 
Breteuil, his son. M. le Prevost denounces this as an 
evident mistake, but some one may have held under 


Fitz Osbern, though not entitled perhaps to be called 
the " Sire de Paci." 

PIROU, " un Chevalier de," 1. 13,557. Pirou is near 
Lessai, but " a chevalier of Pirou " might not be the 
lord of it. It would be idle to speculate as to the 
person alluded to by the poet. William, Lord of 
Pirou, is said by Orderic to have perished in the fatal 
wreck of the "White Ship," in 1120. In a later 
charter, however, a "Gulielmus de Pirou, Dapifer," 
appears as a witness. Mon. Ang. vol. ii., p. 973. 

PRAERES, "le Sire de," 1. 13,661. Even the locality 
of this seigneurie is undetermined, and when it is 
stated that a Sire de Praeres appears about 1119 as a 
vassal of the Earl of Chester, all is said that is known 
of the family. 

PINS, " cil ki ert Sire des," 1. 13,567, supposed to 
be Pin au Haras, arrondissement of Argentan. A Foul- 
ques des Pin is named in a charter to Saint Pierre-sur- 
Dive as a contemporary of the Conqueror ; a Morin du 
Pin was Dapifer to Kobert, Comte de Mortain, and 
living in 1080, and the name frequently occurs in. 
connection with events of the next century ; but the 
Sire des Pins of Senlac has not been identified. The 
family were seated in England shortly after the Con- 
quest, and appear to have been in the service of the 
Counts of Meulent (Orderic Vital, 687, 881). 


REBERCIL, "le Sire de," 1. 13,777. Now called 
Rubercy, in the arrondissement of Bayeux. The com- 
panion of the Conqueror not known, but in 1168 
Hughes Wae (Wake), Lord of Rebercil, founded the 
Abbey of Longues, and the family of Wake is one of 
the most important in Anglo-Norman history. How 
he became Lord of Rebercil, whether by inheritance 
or marriage, has yet to be discovered. His wife was 
Emma, daughter of Baldwin de Gant and Adelaide de 
Rullos ; but Hugh could not have been born at the 
time of the Conquest, and we have no knowledge of 
his father. No connection is hinted to have existed 
between Hugh and the celebrated Hereward, whose 
name of Le Wake is of dubious derivation ; but the 
founding of the Priory of Brunne in Lincolnshire by 
Baldwin de Gant, the father-in-law of Hugh, is worthy 
of observation, taken in connection with the story 
that Hereward was a son of Leofric, Lord of Brunne. 
The name of Wake occurs in all the Rolls and cata- 
logues except those of MM. de Magny and Delisle, 
and the Wakes of Clevedon, in the county of Somerset, 
laim to be descended from Sir Thomas, called from his 
large possessions " the great Wake " in the reign of 
Edward III. 

SAINT CLER, "le Sire de," 1. 13,749. Saint Clair is 
the principal town in the canton of that name in the 


^arrondissement of St. L6. The site of the castle was 
still to be seen near the church when M. de Gerville 
wrote his valuable work on the castles in La Manche. 
A William de Saint Clair was a benefactor to the 
Abbey of Savigny in the reign of Henry I., and one 
of the same name, if not the same person, founded the 
Priory of Villiers Fossard in 1139; but who "came 
over with the Conqueror " does not appear. A Richard 
de Sender is found in Domesday, from whom, as a 
matter of course, the English Sinclairs are reported to 
have descended. 

ST. MARTIN, "le Sire de/' 1. 13,565. No identifica- 
tion either of place or person. There are very many 
St. Martins, and we know nothing of their seigneurs 
in 1066. A family of that name was seated in Eng- 
land early in the following century, and a Robert de 
St. Martin founded the Abbey of Robert's Bridge, in 
the county of Sussex, in 1176. 

SAINT SEVER, "cil de." Le Prevost doubts the 
existence of any seigneur of Saint Sever in 1066, that 
place having been always the property of the Viscounts 
of the Avranchin. Now " Saint Sever ! Sire St. 
Sever I " was the war cry of Renouf de Bricasard at 
the battle of Val-es-Dunes (see vol. i, p. 29), and his 
son Ranulph de Bricasard, called Le Meschin, or the 
younger, afterwards Earl of Chester, would have pro- 

v 2 


bably been the Lord of St. Sever at the time of the 
expedition had he been old enough, but as he lived 
till 1129 that is not probable. At all events the- 
learned antiquary is, I think, mistaken. Renouf de 
Bricasard was Viscount of the Bessin in 1047, not of 
the Avrauchin, and therefore frequently called Eenouf 
de Bayeux. He married Matilda, daughter of Richard 
d'Avranches, by Emma de Conteville, and sister of 
Hugh, Earl of Chester. That is the only connection 
with the Vicomtes d'Avranches, which, supposing hint 
to be married in 1047, might account in some way 
for his war cry. We have no means of ascertaining- 
the age of either father or son in 1066 ; but as Neel 
de Saint-Sauveur, the other rebellious viscount, was 
in the expedition, the odds are in favour of the elder 
son-in-law of that " Richarz ki fu d'Avrancin " (see- 
p. 16, ante), under whom he might have held St. 
Sever, or been enfeoffed with it in frank marriage at 
the time of his union with his daughter. 

SAP, "cil de,"l. 13,668. Wace couples with "cil 
de Sap," "cil de Gloz," upon which Le Prevost re- 
marks : " Here again are two seigneurs of our author's 
creation. At the time of the Conquest Sap had been 
given with Moules to Baldwin Fitz Gilbert, Comte de 
Brionne, as we have already said, and could not con- 
sequently have a ' seigneur particulier.' As to Gloz, 

SAP. 293 

at belonged to William de Breteuil, and it appears 
that its possession dated from a very early period, 
because we find Barnon de Glos in the service of his 
( William's) father about the year 1035. William de 
Xjloz, son of this Barnon, was dapifer to William de 
Breteuil, and assisted probably at the Conquest in that 
capacity." Exactly so, and therefore why, dear M. 
le Provost, to whom we are all so much indebted, do 
you charge the honest Prebend of Bayeux with having 
created two " seigneurs " out of his imagination ? The 
title is of your own bestowing. He does not style 
Ihem seigneurs. He speaks of them simply as " cil 
<le Sap," and " cil de Gloz " (celui), and the context 
dearly shows that he does not rank them as lords of a 
iief, but as chevaliers distinguished by their family 
names, who in later days in England would have 
been called Sir William de Gloz, and Sir de 
.Sap. Sire not only signified lord, but the senior 
member of the family ("plus vieux, phis ancien," 
Manage), and was familiarly applied to men of 
.any rank (" pauvre sire, honime sans merite," Lan- 
dais). Granting that Wace may have occasionally 
used it inaccurately, the persistence of his annotator in 
^refusing to recognize the existence of the persons so 
designated is, I humbly submit, a mistake on his 


SACIE, "cil de," 1. 13,659. M. de Gerville, in liis^ 
" Keclierches sur les Chateaux de la Manche," has. 
pointed out that the place here mentioned is not Sassy 
near Falaise, but Sacey near Pont Orson. A Jourdain 
de Sacey, chevalier, was living in the twelfth century, 
and an Emeric de Sacey occurs in the " Monasticon," 
but no guess has been made as to the actual com- 
panion of the Conqueror. I will venture a suggestion.. 
In the Commune of Sacey, on the banks of the Coes- 
non, a river dividing the provinces of Normandy and 
Brittany, a castle was built in 1030 by Eobert Duke 
of Normandy, father of the Conqueror, the site of which 
was, and may be still, visible on a hill about a quarter 
of a league from the bourg of Sassy. This castle,, 
indifferently called Charruez and Cheruel, is said to> 
have given its name to the well-known Norman family 
of Kyriel. Wace makes no mention of a Kyriel, but 
if one of the family held lands in the commune he 
might have been known as a Sire de Sassy. Vide 
Recherches de M. deGerville, and Sir Bernard Burke's- 
Koll of Battle Abbey. 

SAINTEALS, "cil de," 1. 13,643. This commune,, 
now called Cintheaux, near Gonvix, arrondissement de 
Falaise, offers no record of a possessor in 1066. In. 
1081 it belonged to Robert Marmion, who gave the 
church there to the Abbey of Barbery. One of that 


family may have been an under-tenant at the time of 
the Conquest. 

SEMILLIE, "li Sire dc," 1. 13,650. A Guillaume 
de Semilly (near St. L6) is a witness to two charters 
in 1082, and appears to have been a person of some 
importance, as he signs immediately after Odo Bishop 
of Bayeux and Eoger de Montgomeri. He was pro- 
bably the " Sire de Semillie" of Senlac. His daughter 
and heiress, Agnes, married Guillaume, son of .Richard 
de Hommet, Constable of Normandy, and their eldest 
son Guillaume assumed the family name of his mother, 
granting as Guillaume de Semilly a hundred acres of 
land in his demesnes to the Abbey of Aunay, with the 
consent of his brothers, Jourdain, Bishop of Lisieux, 
Geoffrey and Enguerrand du Hommet (Recherches sur 
le Domesday, p. 94). 

SOLTGNIE, "le Sire de," 1. 13,602. Subligny, near 
Avranches. According to Le PreVost (Corrections 
and Additions to vol. ii.), one of this family, who 
wrote themselves Sulligny, Sousligny, and Subligny, 
became Bishop of Avranches, and another took part 
in the first crusade. A marriage with the Paniells, 
or Paganels, caused the property of a branch in 
Normandy to pass into that family, and the name of 
Subligny existed in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, 
and Somerset as late as the present century. The 


companion of the Conqueror, however, has yet to be 

TOUQUES, "cilde," 1. 13,555. A place at the mouth 
of the river of that name, arrondissement of Pont- 
1'Eveque. Mons. le Prevost notices the appearance 
of the names of Jordan, Koger, Robert, and Henri de 
Touques in Dugdale's Monasticon ; but neither he nor 
Mr. Edgar Taylor seems to have been aware of the 
ancient family of Toke of Godington, in the county of 
Kent, who claim descent from the companion of the 
Conqueror. Thoroton, who spells the name in seven- 
teen different ways, states that a branch of this family 
was seated in Nottinghamshire in the reign of Rufus, 
and other ramifications may be found in the counties 
of Derby, York, Cambridge, Herts, and Dorset. The 
present representative of the house is the Rev. Nicholas 
Toke, of Godington, near Ashford. 

TORNEOR, "Sire del," 1. 13,661. -| Of the Sire of 
ToRNifcRES, "Sire de," 1. 13,664. J Le Tourneur, 
near Vire, or his comrade the Sire of .Tournieres, arron- 
dissement of Bayeux, nothing is known by either the 
French or the English annotators of Wace. A Richard 
de Tourneriis is mentioned in the foundation charter of 
Kenilworth, temp. Henry I., and the Earl of Win- 
terton claims to be descended from a Sire de Tour- 
nour who came over with the Conqueror. 

TBACEE. 297 

TRACIE, "Sire de," 1. 13,605. The Norman family 
of Tracy does not appear to have been of much im- 
portance in England before the reign of Stephen, who 
bestowed upon Henry de Tracy the honour of Ben- 
stable (Barnstaple) in Devonshire ; but the first of the 
name we hear of is Turgis, or Turgisins de Tracy, who 
with William de la Ferte was defeated and driven out 
of Maine by Fulk le Rechin, Count of Anjou, in 1073, 
and who was therefore in all probability the Sire de 
Tracy in the army at Hastings. Tracy is in the 
neighbourhood of Vire, arrondissement of Caen, and 
the ruins of a magnificent castle of the middle 
ages were and may still be seen there. In 1082 a 
charter was subscribed at Tracy by a William de 
Traci and his nephew Gilbert (Gallia Christina, xi. 
Instrum. p. 107), one or the other being most 
likely the son of Turgis, and the father of Henry of 

The name of Tracy- is principally known to the 
readers of English history from the unenviable noto- 
riety of a William de Tracy, one of the cowardly mur- 
derers of Thomas & Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
A.D. 1170 ; but his connection with the inain line is 
obscure, as in his charter granting to the Canons of 
Torre, in the county of Devon, all his lands at North 
Chillingford, he writes himself William de Traci, son 


of Gervase de Courtenay, whose name I do not find 
in the pedigree of that house. 

TREGOZ, "cil ki done tenoit," 1. 13,669. Tregoz is 
in the arrondissement of St. L6. The ruins of a castle 
were existing lately at the confluence of the Vire and 
the brook of Marqueran, but the name of him " who 
then held Tregoz" is unknown to me. Mr. Edgar 
Taylor, in his notes to Wace, says " Jeffery de Tregoz- 
would, according to Dugdale (Baronage, i., 615), be 
the probable contemporary of the Conquest." What 
he founds that opinion upon I am at a loss to dis- 
cover. The first Geoffrey de Tregoz mentioned by 
Dugdale was the son of a William de Tregoz, who in 
1131 had the lands of William Peverel of London in 
farm, and therefore even he could not have been old 
enough in 1066 to have fought at Senlac, where Wace- 
tells us that " he who then held Tregoz " killed two 
Englishmen, transfixing one with his lance and cleav- 
ing the skull of the other with his sword, and galloping 
back unwounded by the enemy. It may have beerr 
the father of that William who performed that 
exploit ; but Dugdale takes us no higher than Wil- 
liam. A Robert de Tregoz was Sheriff of Wiltshire 
and a distinguished warrior in the time of Richard I. y 
and the name has descended to us in his old place of 
residence in the above county Ledyard-Tregose. 


TROSSEBOT, 1. 13,711. This name is coupled with 
that of Botevilain by Wace as two warriors who feared 
neither cut nor thrust, fighting furiously that day, and 
giving and receiving severe blows. M. le Prevost 
could not, however, trace the origin of this family in 
Normandy, and a William Troussebot is first brought 
to our notice in the reign of Henry I. by Orderic 
Vital, who includes him amongst the men of low 
origin, whom for their obsequious services that sove- 
reign raised to the rank of nobles, raising them as it 
were from the dust, heaping wealth upon them, and 
exalting them above earls and noble lords of castles- 
(lib. xi. cap. 2). The Troussebots are supposed to have 
been resident in the north-western part of the district 
of Neubourg, near the domain of Robert de Harcourt,. 
whose daughter Albreda became the wife of William 
Trussbot above mentioned, son of Geoffrey and grand- 
son of Pagan Troussebot, who in all probability was-- 
the combatant at Senlac. 

Geoffrey Fitz Payne, as he is called, was seated 
before the reign of Henry I. at Wartre in Holderness r 
in the county of York, and the family was thenceforth, 
styled the Trusbutts of Wartre. The male line failed by 
the death of the three sons of William without issue, and 
their three sisters, Rose, Hillarie, and Agatha, became- 
heirs of the estates. The two latter dying childless r 


the whole property devolved upon William de Eos, 
grandson of Eose, who married Everard de Eos, a 
great baron in Holderness, who assumed the allusive 
.coat of Trussbot of Wartre : three water-bougets. 
" Trois bouts d'eau," or three bougets of water. 

UEINIE, " cil d'," 1. 13,705. Supposed to be 
Origny, of which name there are two communes in 
JSormandy, one near Belesme, and the other near 
Mamers, but nothing has been learned respecting the 
person alluded to. 

VITRIE, " cil de," 1. 13,604. Eobert Seigneur de 
Vitre (Ille-et-Vilaine), grandson of Eivallon-le-Vicaire, 
is stated by the historians of Brittany to have been 
the person who is indicated by Wace. Of him or his 
deeds we have no record. 

Andre de Vitry married Agnes, daughter of Eobert 
Cornte de Mortain (vol. i., p. 114), and consequently 
niece to the Conqueror. We have not the date, but 
.as her younger] sister Denise was married in 1078, 
it appears doubtful to me if Eobert, son of Agnes, 
*could have been old enough to have fought at Senlac 
in 1066. The annalist of the family of Vitre states 
ithat on Eobert's birth his grandfather (the Comte de 
JMortain) came to Vitre, and at his baptism gave him 
Ms name and all the land he held in Trugny, Nicey, 
.and Vercreuil in Normandy. An inference might be 

VITRIE. 301 

drawn from this that Robert was born after the Con- 

His son Robert, called the younger, married Emma, 
daughter of Alan de Dinan, and their only daughter, 
Eleanora de Vitre, married, 1st, William, son of Fulk 
Painel, 2ndly, Gilbert de Tillieres, and Srdly, William 
Fitz Patrick, second Earl of Salisbury, whom she also 
survived, and married 4thly Gilbert de Malmaines, 
outlived him, and died in 1233. She is generally 
stated to have been the mother of Ela, sole daughter 
and heir of her third husband, the Earl of Salisbury, 
and wife of William de Longuespee, son of the cele- 
brated " Fair Rosamond," by Henry II. I have con- 
tested that descent elsewhere, but it is not necessary 
to repeat my arguments in these pages. I have only 
to do here with the companion of the Conqueror, who 
I "take to have been Andre, the husband of his niece, 
and not their son Robert, who, if even born, must 
have been a child at that period. 

Only one out of the last twenty names, viz., that of 
"Tracy," occurs in the compilations of Messrs, de 
Magny and Delisle. 

One word at parting I lay down my pen with a 
feelino- o f reoret that I have been unable to throw 


more light upon the many perplexing points which are 
forced upon our consideration in pursuing these 
inquiries, by the silence or contradiction of the con- 
temporary writers to whom we naturally turn for 
authentic information. In venturing to differ with 
some of the most erudite of the present day, T have 
raised, however, a few questions which will no doubt 
be either at once conclusively answered, or if deemed 
worthy of attention, lead to further investigation, with 
probably interesting results. I have no desire to 
awaken controversies which end in convincing nobody, 
and too often offend somebody. The great object we 
have all at heart is truth, and I can sincerely adopt 
the words of my old friend and master, the late Sir 
Samuel Eush Meyrick, who was wont to say, " the 
greatest pleasure any one can give me, next to proving 
me to be right, is kindly showing me where I am 


VoL 1. 

Vol. 2. 





Coutances, Geoffrey 

Abeville or Apeville . 


Bishop of 




Crevecceur . 


Aincourt . 






Dapifer (Eudo) . 












Eu, Count of . . 257 



Evreux, Count of . 248 





Auvilliers . 



285 . 


Fitz Erneis 


Bayeux, Odo Bishop of 88 

FitzOsbern . .173 



Fitz Rou, Toustain 

Beaumont . . . 203 

(Le Blanc) . . 227 



Fougeres . 




Gael .... 






Biarz .... 


Giffard . . .160 

Bienfaite . 


Glos .... 




Gournay . 










Botevilain . 


Harcourt . 


Boulogne, Eustace 

Ivri .... 


Count of . .148 

Jort .... 


Bretagne, Counts Alain 

Lacy .... 


of . . . .264 

La Lande (Patry) 


Brevere . . .127 

La Mare . 




LaVal . . 145 



Lithaire . . . 






Chaignes . 


Mandeville . . 


Champagne, Odo Count 

Marmion . 


of . . . .118 



Chapel, Eudo al . 








Combrai . . 


Monceals . 


Courci . . 


Montfort . . .167 



VoL 1. VoL 2. | VoL 1. VoL 2. 

Montfichet . . 49 St. Sever ... 291 

Montgomery . .181 St. Valeri ... 207 

Mortagne . . .261 Sap .... 292 

Mortain. Count of . 107 Say .... 244 

Mortemer . . . 232 Semillie . . . 295 

Moulins ... 106 ' Solignie . . . 295 

Mowbray ... 25 ', Taisson. or Tesson . 104 

Nevil . . . 134 Tankerville . . 148 

Oiley . . . 213 Thouars . . .242 

Pacie ... 288 Toeni . . .217 

Painel . . . 234 Torneor . 

Percy . . . 182 : Tornieres . 

Peverel . . . 258 Touques . 

Pins .... 289 Toustain le Blanc 

Pirou ... 289 (Fitz Rou) . . 227 

Port .... 249 Trade 

Praeres ... 289 Tregoz 

Rebercil ... 290 ! Trossebot . 

Redvers ... 45 Urinie 

Roumare * . . 144 Vesci 

Sacie . . . 294 Yieuxpont 

St. Cler ... 290 Vitrie 

Sainteals . . . 294 Warren . . .131 

St. Martin . . . 291 William the Conqueror 1 

St. Sauveur . . 140 Family of . 77 



BINDING :.FEB231968 


Planche, James Robinson 
The Conqueror and his